New measures to better support professional female football players have been proposed by FIFA, and will see women players granted a minimum of 14-weeks maternity leave on at least two-thirds of their contracted salary.
FIFA, football’s international governing body, announced on Thursday that its Football Stakeholders Committee has backed the changes, that should guarantee female players will not be disadvantaged on the basis of their pregnancy.
Under the proposals, players will have the right to return to football activity after the completion of their maternity leave, and football clubs must reintegrate players appropriately and provide adequate medical and physical support.
“Following the recent phenomenal growth and the unprecedented success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last year, women’s football is now entering its next stage of development,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“It follows that we also have to adopt a regulatory framework that is appropriate and suitable to the needs of the women’s game.”
The proposals were unanimously endorsed by the stakeholders committee and will be put forward for the FIFA Council’s final approval next month. The changes will then take effect on January 1.
According to FIFA, a termination of a players’ contract because of their pregnancy would see clubs forced to pay compensation and would lead to “sporting sanctions”, which could also be combined with fines for the club. A rule to allow clubs to sign players as temporary maternity cover outside registration periods has also been proposed.
The changes will “set a minimum standard globally” for female players, while national football bodies are free to offer more generous protection for female players.
The reforms from FIFA also include a new minimum standards for coaches’ contracts.
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