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Professional footballers in Chile have announced a strike action for the weekend of 22, 23 and 24 July if the country’s football association (ANFP) does not comply with the wishes of players’ association Sifup.

Sifup and its players want several issues to be solved. The main complaint is that days before the start of the new season on 22 July there is still a lack of clarity.


One of the problems is that the ANFP has decided to cancel its proposal, made in agreement with Sifup and other stakeholders such as the police, TV channels and coaches, to schedule the 2016-2017 season from February to December, which is identical to the calendar of ‘regular workers’ in Chile. Under pressure from the clubs they opted to continue with the ‘old calendar which runs from July until April. Only two other countries in South America apply the same calendar: Argentina and Bolivia.

Next to that, the ANFP decided that no team will relegate from the Primera B (second division) to the Segunda (third division) and it has postponed the start of the third division.

As a consequence, 420 players are currently without a contract, most of them from the third division. Clubs are hesitant to recruit new players, because they don’t know when the season starts and the lack of a relegation/promotion. Sifup President Carlos Soto explains, "If there's no chance of going up, nobody will make an effort to recruit anyone else, and if no one is in danger of going down, the same will happen."

The ANFP also changed the relegation rule for the first division. Only one instead of two teams will relegate to the second division. Soto disagrees, "To make it competitive, two teams should go down from the 'Primera' league and one from 'Primera B".

National team player David Pizarro, captain of the Santiago Wanderers declared that "right now we are American champions, but our home football is going to the dogs.”

"Some of our colleagues are having a rough time. There are situations where, as players, we have to stand up against all these issues that our colleagues are going through."

Unanimous agreement

On Monday during the Sifup general assembly, players of all clubs in the two top divisións unanimously agreed to paralyse competitions in Primera and Primera B if a binding negotiation table could not be set up between ANFP, the Board of Presidents, Sifup and the College of Football Coaches to take an in-depth look at problem issues bothering employees. The topics to be discussed are as follows:

  • Regulating payments into salaries and end of season settlements for the 2015-2016 season for clubs in the three professional categories.
  • Modifying the championship system in terms of promotion and relegation.
  • Standardising the championship calendar to play from February to December.
  • Scheduling summer matches after 6 pm between 15th November and 15th March.
  • Scheduling the start of the 'Clausura' championship 2016-2017 for February 2017.
  • Setting a start date and financing for the Second Division championship.
  • Changing the economic requirements for clubs going up to Primera B.
  • A new Sifup Assembly meeting has been called for next Monday, 18th July, to talk about any progress made to maintain or drop the call to freeze the start of competition.

Soto announced that "the championship will not begin until a negotiation table has been set up with the ANFP."

"The players who came to the assembly meeting have a valid contract and they are coming out in support of players who do not currently have a contract."