Fifa promises maternity protection for female players

Dubai: Fifa, the world governing body for football, has promised to introduce new maternity rules in an effort to further strengthen protection for female soccer players.

After a meeting of the World Governing Body late on Thursday, Fifa said it was introducing new “global minimum standards” for women’s football. The FIFA Stakeholder Committee supports these ‘reforms’ and will now be submitted to the Fifa Council for final approval next month.

The new rules contain compulsory maternity leave of at least 14 weeks and a minimum of two thirds of the contracted salary. When players return to their clubs, it is the duty of the clubs to ensure that the players are re-integrated and provided with medical and physical support.

Fifa also plans to help clubs by having a player outside a transfer window register as a temporary replacement during maternity leave.

“No female player should ever suffer an injury as a result of becoming pregnant, thus ensuring greater job protection for women in football,” said Fifa president Gianni Infantino. “After the recent phenomenal growth and the unprecedented success of the FIFA World Cup for Women in France last year, women’s soccer is now entering its next phase of development. It follows that we must also adopt a regulatory framework that is appropriate and suitable for the needs of the women’s game. ”

The Fifa Football Stakeholder Committee has also approved stronger rules for football coaches and for club, league and player representatives, as well as member associations and confederations. It sets minimum standards for contracts and aims to provide more clarity on the content of service agreements.

“It is our hope to see that the rules will lead to contractual stability, greater transparency and to ensure coaches are always paid on time,” Infantino said.

The move follows a similar approach to player contracts, and these rules must also be approved by the 37-member Fifa board next month.

The Fifa Council consists of 37 members, including the president-elect of the Fifa Congress, eight vice-presidents and 28 other members elected by the member associations – each for a term of four years.

“Fifa has never taken care of them (coaches) for the last 120 years,” said Infantino, predicting that the new rules would benefit coaches working internationally. The set rules are aimed at ‘protecting contractual stability, achieving greater transparency and ensuring that coaches are also paid on time’, Fifa insisted.

Although Fifa’s judicial bodies have not put forward contractual disputes over maternity rights, the new rules follow the standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) for the compensation of maternity leave with at least eight weeks of the minimum 14 maternity leave used after the player’s birth .

The rules, drawn up with the help of the world players’ union FIFPRO, are expected to be approved by the FIFA board next month and will take effect from 1 January 2021.

Source: Gulf News

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