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FIFA will protect players’ maternity leave

Ap and Afp

La Jornada newspaper
Friday, November 20, 2020, p. a10

Geneva. Footballers could see their right to maternity leave protected, according to new labor regulations announced yesterday by FIFA.

The body that governs world football is preparing to require its 211 member countries in its December council to grant at least 14 weeks of maternity leave starting next year, which must be paid at least two-thirds of full salary. of the players.

At least eight of those 14 weeks minimum must be granted after the player gives birth. National federations can insist on more generous terms.

At the time of rejoining, the club must facilitate the reintegration of the player and will offer medical and physical support, said FIFA.

He also warned that any team that terminates a player’s contract for becoming pregnant risks having to pay compensation and a fine, as well as being banned from the transfer market for a year.

During the maternity leave of a player, the clubs may hire another soccer player to replace the pregnant woman, even if they are outside the transfer period, with the possibility of integrating her in the long term if both parties agree.

The idea is to protect the players before, during and after childbirth, declared the head of FIFA’s legal team, Emilio García, in a conference call.

He added that the footballer who is a mother will be able to breastfeed or express her milk in places adapted by her own club.

The measures are considered a crucial step in the professionalization of women’s football and respect for the family life of the players, after a successful World Cup in France 2019 and an increase in investments from elite clubs.

The FIFA Council is expected to approve the rules next month, and they will go into effect on January 1.

Although the judicial bodies of the world body have not participated in contractual disputes over maternity rights, García said they were looking to anticipate possible problems. We believe these rules are common sense.

The measures follow the standards on the matter of the International Labor Organization.

We want to see more women play football and at the same time have a family, explained Sarai Bareman, head of women’s football within FIFA.

Forward Alex Morgan, who won the World Cup last year and signed with Tottenham in September – four months after giving birth to her first child – played her first game this month. Despite these measures, there is still work to be done with the sponsors.