Shocking working conditions for players in new Mexican women’s league26 July 2017

ThefirsteditionoftheMexicanwomen’sfootballleague,theLigaMXFemenil,issettodebutonFriday(28July)asmediareportssuggestthattheplayersarebeingaskedtoplayunderaseriesofclausesthatinfringelabourrights.

The Mexican newspaper La Jornada details the contract requirements of the Mexican Football Federation (FEMEXFUT) for all 16 teams and its players. They allege that the players are asked to sign a pledge not to get pregnant while under contract and imposes a ban on homosexuality amongst the players.

The newspaper quotes a player who has been offered the contract: “the restriction on motherhood comes on the template contract that the federation sends to clubs and that players need to sign”.

The newspaper says, “To the outside world they portray themselves as anti-homophobia paladins, but on the inside they do not want lesbian players and have given clear instructions to all 16 women’s teams to omit any cases of homosexuality”.

“If any [player] gets pregnant, their contract will be terminated. They will not provide medical assistance nor any of the benefits that employers are required to by law,” it adds.

The unnamed player is quoted as saying that contracted players should also refrain from public demonstrations “of excessive affection” or from “seeming too masculine”.

In a critical tone it says that female goalkeepers are also likely to endure the homophobic ‘Puto’ chant, commonly heard in Mexican football.

A monthly salary cap of €112 (two thousand and five hundred Mexican pesos) has been set for players in the league.

Earlier this year, similar allegations were reported by professional female athletes in Spain as anti-pregnancy clauses were being used by football, handball and basketball clubs.

The existence of such clauses in contracts was at first denied by the Spanish government. But the outrage of some political parties, including Cuidadanos and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, who urged the Spanish government to amend the law, has lead to further investigation into the issue.

The Superior Council of Sports, responsible for directing the development of sport in Spain, also contacted all national sporting federations to be vigilant and address “any conduct that goes against the equal treatment of men and women”.