See what's happening on Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr

FIFPro-Worlds-players-union-mobile-logo

Argentina will have its first professional women’s league featuring teams including Boca Juniors, River Plate, Estudiantes de La Plata and Independiente from August.

Here, FIFPro looks at what’s behind the ground-breaking announcement.

Who has taken this initiative?
The Argentine football federation and player union Futbolistas Argentinos Agremiados have been exploring ways to develop women’s football. Earlier this month, in an historic moment for the game in Argentina, the federation and union signed an agreement under which clubs in the existing 16-team women’s first division will provide professional contracts to eight female players per squad.

What conditions will players get?
The federation will help bankroll the salaries of the newly-professional players by paying 120,000 pesos (about $2,800) a month to each of the 16 clubs; that equates to about US$350 per player, slightly above the national minimum wage in Argentina. Players will have a contract of at least one year. They will receive social security cover and a preseason medical check-up from Agremiados. The union and federation have set up a working group to ensure the training grounds and stadiums they use are of a high standard.

What is the profile of women’s football in Argentina?
Awareness about Argentine women’s football is increasing, with the national team qualifying for this year’s Women’s World Cup in France and the country among eight bidders to host the 2023 edition. The federation appears to be listening to protests from female players about substandard conditions in the women’s game. In January, Macarena Sanchez began legal proceedings against the federation in an effort to be recognized as a professional footballer.

marchi women 650 2

Is a professional women’s league unprecedented in South America?
No. Colombia became the first country in the region to have a professional women’s league in 2017.  

How is the Colombian pro league going?
The women’s professional league began with optimism but the season was cut to three months last year and recently the federation announced plans to downgrade the league to amateur status at a time when female players were denouncing discriminatory treatment by federation officials. The players, supported by their union Acolfutpro, protested and the federation reversed its decision.

What do Argentine players and their union say?
The start of a professional league lays the foundation for the women’s game to develop in Argentina and the collectively-bargained terms negotiated by Agremiados puts women’s football in the country ahead of the likes of Brazil and Croatia, according to Sergio Marchi, (pictured, holding document) general secretary of Agremiados. There are plans to add specific terms for women’s football, including maternity leave.

What are Argentine clubs doing?
Several clubs, which have traditionally focused almost exclusively on men's football, are starting to take some steps to develop women’s football. In an unprecedented move, Boca Juniors this month held a match of its women’s team at the club's La Bombonera stadium.

What comes next?

This is just the start, Marchi says. After all, the professionals in the elite women’s league will only have the same conditions to players in the fifth-tier of the men’s league. Macarena Sanchez and other women’s football campaigners are pleased with the progress so far but are calling for clubs to run youth academies for girls, just as they do for boys.