- Five members of Slovenia women’s national team met with country’s leader
- Accompanied by Dejan Stefanovic, president of Slovenian player union and FIFPRO board member, as well as Marko Levovnik, Slovenian union’s secretary general
- Significant differences between working conditions for Slovenian women’s and men’s national team players discussed
Slovenia President Natasa Pirc Musar offered her support to the women’s national football team players in their fight for equal pay and working conditions. "I understand you and I want to help you," President Pirc Musar said during a meeting in the Presidential Palace on Monday.
Five members of Slovenia’s women’s national team: Dominiko Conc, Kristina Erman, Kajo Erzen, Lara Prasnikar and Matejo Zver met with the President as part of her work on gender equality.
The players were accompanied by Dejan Stefanovic, the president of Slovenian player union Spins and FIFPRO board member, and Marko Levovnik, the Slovenian union’s secretary general.
The players elaborated about their many efforts to create more gender equality and highlighted the significant differences that exist between the working conditions for the women’s and the men’s national team players, including pay, equipment, number of staff, and practice and match facilities. There are also major differences in marketing, sponsorship deals and media attention.
According to the union, the treatment of Slovenia’s women’s national team players by their football association (NZS) is poor and, in most cases, discriminatory.
"Let me give you an example of how the football association treats the women’s players," Dejan Stefanovic told FIFPRO. "We had agreed to meet President Pirc Musar this Tuesday in the national team’s training camp. But when the football association leadership found out, they then forbade the meeting to take place during the national team training camp. Luckily, President Pirc Musar was so kind and able to adjust her schedule, in order to welcome the players into her office this Monday."
During that meeting President Pirc Musar stressed the need to eliminate the differences between men’s and women’s athletes as soon as possible, as modern society must be based on equality, solidarity and dignity in all areas of life.
"The reasons for the differences are not acceptable and are not based on objective facts," President Pirc Musar said, adding that she was prepared to engage in efforts to close disparities and would continue to draw attention to the importance of gender equality.
Stefanovic said: "The President promised to discuss this matter with the president of the football association, and if necessary she would also involve UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin [editor’s note: Ceferin is a Slovenia native]. We could not have asked for more."
President Pirc Musar wasted little time. She discussed the issue with the FA president and is now trying to arrange a meeting with her, the women’s national team and the leadership of the football association in order to help reach an agreement.
Stefanovic said: "For three years, the players have been trying to get a fair deal with the football association. We hope that with the support of the President we can finally reach a fair agreement.
"If we cannot reach an agreement, and if the football association is unwilling to listen even to the President of our country, then we will have to take a different approach, also with the possibility to boycott the national team."
Slovenian union Spins
• Division: Europe
• Established: 2003
• FIFPRO Member since: 2005
• Website: spins.si
FIFPRO Director Global Policy & Strategic Relations Women’s Football Sarah Gregorius applauds the determination of the players and the union to elevate their case to the highest levels within Slovenia.
"This shows that there is a path forward for change that can circumvent barriers that are too-often found within football itself," said Gregorius. "We need to move on from fighting for basic recognition and minimums to a new era of equality.
"We at FIFPRO appreciate the clear words and support offered by President Pirc Musar, and believe that her conviction, alongside the players, will help forge a new path towards equality for the women’s national team – both in terms of conditions and remuneration. Working together in good faith protects players and moves us away from players having to risk parts of their careers for change."