Spain’s Labor Ministry has sent letters to football clubs across the country as a first step of a wider campaign to investigate the salary gap between male and female players.
(Bloomberg) — Spain’s Labor Ministry has sent letters to football clubs across the country as a first step of a wider campaign to investigate the salary gap between male and female players.
Income differences must be “reasonable,” Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz told journalists at a press conference on Monday. After sending the letters, the government’s Labor Inspectorate agency will contact clubs and request more information about salary calculations.
“These differences can’t be just because they’re women,” Diaz said. The Ministry will also “call on the professional football league’s clubs to review and update protocols to prevent harassment in the workplace.”
Read More: Michelle Obama Criticizes Pay for Women’s Sports at US Open
The Ministry’s investigation comes as the Spanish football association’s chief Luis Rubiales sparked global outrage by forcefully kissing a female player on live TV during celebrations of the FIFA World Cup final in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 20.
Rubiales argued that the kiss was consensual and refused to resign, leading to the whole Spanish female football team resigning in protest. The 46-year-old former player has since lost support of the association he presides and has been provisionally suspended for 90 days by FIFA, the world’s football ruling body.
The popularity of women’s football has boomed in recent years, but pay for the players has remained relatively low. A host of teams are currently pushing football authorities to do more to increase pay.
Workers’ minimum wage has been one of Diaz’s main achievements during her term in office. Earlier this year the government approved an 8% increase, to 1,080 euros ($1,168) per month, the fourth increase since 2020. A unionist and a member of the Communist Party, Diaz leads the Sumar coalition of far-left groups that’s the Spanish parliament’s fourth-largest force.
Diaz questioned that female players’ minimum salary is set at €16,000 ($17,298) per season, while men’s are set at €180,000. On Monday, she met with FUTPRO, the main union for Spanish female players. Its president Amanda Gutierrez said salary negotiations are stuck, with clubs saying there’s no money to increase wages.
Most of the players in the Spanish national team play in their domestic league, which in its first season as a professional sport clashed with its naming sponsor, Finetwork. Liga F — the women’s league — is reviewing its options with lawyers after the telecommunications firm said at the end of the season that it was not going to pay as it hadn’t signed a contract. The league said they had signed a three-season contract for €15 million, including €4 million for the first season alone.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.