Entertainment

Mover Over Messi, Argentina Announces Women’s Soccer Will Now Be Professionalized

In a country that is home to Lionel Messi and some of the best soccer players in the world, Argentinian women will now have a chance at an equal level playing field. Argentina’s football association (AFA) just announced that the national women’s league will now be granted professional status. The news is a breakthrough moment for not only Argentinian soccer but competitive women’s sports as a whole.

As well as having their game professionalized they will be paid like it too.

AFA President Claudio Tapia said at a press conference that each of the 16 clubs of the women’s top division must now have at least eight professional contracts with female soccer players. Those contracts must also match those of the professional men’s league. To this point, The women’s game has been largely played by amateur athletes who have gotten little money for their work compared to their male counterparts.

“When we assumed responsibility, we said we were going to oversee inclusive soccer that is gender equal, and we are demonstrating that,” Tapia told the AP.

Tapia says that the association will help by contributing 120,000 pesos (which is about $3,000) per month to each of the women’s club to finance the contracts. The female players will now be paid a monthly minimum salary of about 15,000 pesos ( roughly $365), which is equal to that made by male players in the fourth division of Argentine soccer.

In terms of success, the country team has made three World Cup appearances but has yet to make it to out of the group stage.

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The professionalization of women’s soccer in Argentina is also a good sign in terms of further helping develop future stars. The country’s women national team has had relativity low success in international soccer. In three World Cup appearances, the national team has yet to make it out of the group stage.

“This association has one promise, to improve football,” Tapia told reporters at the press conference. “We are going to keep working to develop women’s football in all provinces.”

In addition to the new league, women players will be receiving a brand new high performance center in Buenos Aires. Tapia says the association would provide pitches for teams that do not have their own facilities. The new soccer league is set to begin this June but the number of teams in the league have yet to be announced by the AFA.

The move follows a series of legal actions taken by women soccer players vying for equality on and off the field.

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The movement towards professionalization got steam when Macarena Sanchez, one of the best and most well-known women players in the country, was dismissed by the UAI Urquiza team. Shortly after, Sanchez took legal action against the club seeking compensation and professional status.

“It’s very frustrating,” Sánchez told the Guardian. “They have better salaries, better conditions and can live by being footballers. We, unfortunately, can’t. We have better results, more championships and we have even played international tournaments but we are seen as inferior just for being women.”

This movement has followed to the U.S. women’s national soccer team who also sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for “institutionalized gender discrimination. The team says they are receiving unequal pay compared with their counterparts on the men’s national team.

In Colombia, two players, Isabella Echeverri and Melissa Ortiz, who play for the women’s national team spoke out on social media about what they feel is “sexual discrimination.” They say they are playing on substandard conditions and receive discriminatory treatment by their soccer federation.

“We have decided to be honest about the reality of soccer in our country with a series of videos that we hope boost awareness,” they said on social meida. “We love our country and we want things to change for the better for female players.”

This movement has led to what many women soccer players feel is just the start of more equal and fair opportunities in the sport.

The hope is the new league will expose players to new fans and generate sponsorships for future revenue. Women’s soccer in Argentina has gotten some exposure this year, with the Boca Juniors’ female team playing at the Bombonera stadium for the first time this month. The match was also shown on television, becoming the first female football match to be shown live in the country.

Tapia says this is hopefully just the start for professional women’s’ soccer recognition in Argentina. But the success will be weighed on how many fans they get in the seats and television rights they receive for live games.

The women’s game in soccer has already made great strides the last few years. Last year, FIFA ordered all member nations to have female football plans in place by 2022 and to double the number of female players to 60 million by 2026.

READ: Chicharito Announced In A Gender Reveal Party That He Is Having A Chicharito Of His Own

Fútbol Might Be The First Sport To Resume To Business As Usual During The Pandemic

Entertainment

Fútbol Might Be The First Sport To Resume To Business As Usual During The Pandemic

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Entertainment across the globe is on pause. One of the first things to go was sports and it devastated fans everywhere. Basketball took the first big hit after players in the NBA tested positive for COVID-19. Now, the sporting world is trying to figure out how to get back to business and fútbol is leading the way.

Fútbol leagues around the world are in talks about how to restart their season.

According to FIFA, more than 200 million people are involved in professional soccer around the world. Roughly 4 percent of the world’s population is involved with the global sport. The pandemic brought a sudden stop to the season that was 11 matches shy of ending.

Team coaches are eager to get their players back on the field, even if it means no fans.

Asian sporting leagues have already started to experiment with using cutouts of fans in the stands. Barcelona FC is implementing the same strategy because it is still not safe for people to gather in large numbers for sporting events, concerts, etc. To continue the fight against COIVD-19 while restarting the economy, sports leagues are trying to figure out the best way to do it. Some leagues are doing mass testing of all of the athletes involved and it is already showing some sobering results.

Coronavirus tests are concerning some athletes in the soccer leagues.

Spain’s La Liga tested their major and second league players to join other soccer teams from around the world in opening up. Five total players tested positive for COVID-19 showing the lengths to which this virus has spread. La Liga has said that those players will have to quarantine and cannot join their teams in individual and small group exercises until they show two negative tests 72 hours apart.

“Between the clubs of [the first and second divisions], five positive cases have been detected among players, all of them asymptomatic and in the final stage of the illness,” read a statement from La Liga.

There is pushback from fans and non-soccer fans alike over the move to restart the leagues.

There are reports around the world of test shortages. In the U.S., people without symptoms are essentially blocked from taking tests to see if they have COVID-19. The U.S. government has forgone testing kits from health organizations and it has led to an abysmal testing rate and response in the U.S. Los Angeles became the first major city in the U.S. to offer free testing to all residents by appointment. Some people think that the soccer leagues fighting to reopen and use tests to maintain a form of entertainment is reckless and hurting those who need the tests most.

Fútbol teams have already started bringing their players in for practice individually to get the league up and running again despite fears.

Barcelona FC is the first team to show up to practices on staggered schedules. Training, which just started, is slowly going to be ramped up over the course of four weeks to make sure that the leagues can get up and running to play games in empty stadiums to protect fans from spreading COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Cases continue to increase around the world showing that the fight if far from won.

The U.S. currently has more than 1.3 million cases of COVID-19. Th\e overall total of cases in the world is over 4.1 million. The U.S. currently has the largest number of infections and death from COVID-19 than anywhere else in the world. More than 70,000 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 and without a national plan in place, some states are rushing to reopen their economies.

READ: ICE Reports The First Death Of A Detained Migrant Due To Covid-19 But Some Fear There Could Be Many More Victims

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay, Instead A Court Just Rejected Their Case

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The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay, Instead A Court Just Rejected Their Case

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Women have been fighting for decades to achieve equality in the workplace: from being free from harassment or from being overlooked for promotions and new positions simply based on gender. But few fights have been as hard-fought and as important as the right to equal pay.

And few battles for this right have gone as mainstream and widespread as the fight being led by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team – who have been fighting for the same pay as the U.S. men’s team. However, their battle just hit a major roadblock, but the team says they’re still moving forward.

A district judge in California has dismissed the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s claim of unequal pay. 

The reigning World Cup champion U.S. women’s soccer team is vowing to fight on after a judge dismissed their claim of unequal pay with their male counterparts. The judge said that their claims are not enough to warrant a trial.

The court caught many off guard with its May 1 ruling, which rejected before trial the team’s class claims under the Equal Pay Act and its pay bias claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The women say they’re paid less than the U.S. men’s team players because of their sex.

A spokesperson for the players, Molly Levinson, released a statement and said, in part, we are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up on our hard work for equal pay. A couple of the prominent players, including Megan Rapinoe – tweeted, we will never stop fighting for equality. Tobin Heath said, this team never gives up, and we’re not going to start now.

According to the judge who handed down the decision, the women’s team actually makes more than the men’s national team.

Judge R. Gary Klausner said undisputed evidence shows the women were actually paid more per game than the men during the period at issue in the suit. And the women’s argument they would have made more if paid performance bonuses equal to the men’s was undercut by the women having negotiated a separate pay scheme with salaries and other fixed compensation instead of accepting the exclusively “pay-for-play” agreement the men play under, Klausner said.

The pay discrepancy is because of pay agreements that differ greatly between the two teams.

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The women’s and men’s teams ended up with substantially different agreements. The female players agreement allows the women to be compensated largely through salary guarantees, with additional opportunities for performance-based bonuses. On the men’s team, players do not earn salaries, but only bonuses, and therefore the men are only paid when they play.

The judge writes, “merely comparing what each team would have made under the other team’s CBA (collective bargaining agreement) is untenable in this case because it ignores the reality that MNT (men’s national team) and WNT (women’s national team) bargained for different agreements which reflect different preferences, and that the WNT explicitly rejected the terms that they now seek to retroactively impose on themselves…In May 2016, USSF offered the WNT a pay-to-play proposal similar to the MNT, but the WNT rejected it preferring an agreement that involved some element of guaranteed compensation.”

Though to be clear – that’s not how the women’s national team sees things and is why they’re pushing forward with their fight.

However, that’s not the way the women see it. On CBS This Morning, team co-captain Megan Rapinoe contradicted the judge’s assertion that the women turned down the men’s deal, “We asked to be under the men’s contract, and it was repeatedly refused to us, not only in the structure but in the total compensation. If we were under that contract, we would have earned at least three times higher.”

The women’s team still has substantial public support for their equal pay case. Joe Biden tweeted that if he becomes president he will not provide World Cup funding unless U.S. Soccer provides equal pay.