The Spanish government will pay off the “historic debt” it owes to women’s football by designating its top league as professional from next season.
Founded in 1988, La Liga Femenina is the top women’s football league in the country and is conformed of 18 teams. Yet it does not have the distinction of being professional.
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Irene Lozano, president of Spain’s Sports council, said the government is ready to “put an end to this injustice.”
“The CSD [Spain’s Sports Council] is going to designate the women’s football league as professional for the 2021-22 season,” Lozano said in the Spanish Senate. “It cannot be that men’s football is professional and yet, women’s football is still considered non-professional. It has no logic, and we are going to put an end to this injustice to improve the conditions of female athletes and strengthen sports structures.
“Our aim is to have one of the best women’s leagues in Europe and the best way to achieve that is its professionalisation.”
Being considered a professional league will allow the Liga Femenina to be independent, to get better resources and improve conditions because it will be the clubs that will organise the league.
In 2015, clubs united to create the Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs (ACFF) to propel and professionalise women’s football in Spain.
Since the signing of a first collective agreement in the history of Spanish women’s football in February 2020, the ACFF said the Liga Femenina already complies with the three criteria needed to be considered a professional competition by the Spanish government.
All of its players have contracts, while the league has achieved a financial dimension with sponsors and TV rights. Furthermore, it is an important competition, with their teams, like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, competing in the Women’s Champions League.