Female players in Spain threaten strike

Madrid: Almost 200 female footballers in Spain from various first division clubs have voted to go on strike over pay and working conditions. The vote won the support of 93 per cent of 188 players from 16 clubs after more than a year of failed negotiations with the Association of Women's Football Clubs (ACFF).

Clubs are proposing part-time salaries worth 8,000 euros a year while the players are demanding a minumum of 12,000, amounting to 75 per cent of minimum full-time contracts.

"We are footballers 24 hours a day, 100 per cent of the time," said Ainhoa Tirapu, goalkeeper for Athletic Bilbao and the Spanish national team. "We hope to reach an agreement at some point but we had to take drastic action because the time for women's football is now." "We want an agreement now, that is worthy and with equality," said David Aganzo, president of the Association of Women's Players (AFE).

"We have enjoyed talking about all the positive things in women's football, many of them on show at the World Cup, but the players also need an improvement in their working conditions, that recognise what they do. In the 21st century, women deserve respect."