Photo credit: Federico Barreiro | From left to right: Soledad Jaimes, Micaela Cabrera, Ruth Bravo, Eliana Stabile and Florencia Quiñones
Unacceptable working conditions enforced on Argentina Women’s National Team
In Argentina, the most popular sport is soccer. No one could ever question that. You can see little boys (and not so little) playing ball everywhere, all the time. But, until a few years ago, it was not so common to see girls playing this sport. So it is kind of new among women.
Nowadays, the Women’s National Team is on everyone’s lips due to the poor conditions they have to represent Argentina. The players have issued a press release through social media stating their situation.
This was the thing: the National Team was more than two years out of any competition. They were even out of FIFA ranking. They were not training and the scenery could not be worst. The AFA (Argentine Football Association) had tons of problems and, as one could imagine, women’s soccer was not among its priorities. Well, there has been a change of authorities and it still seems that women’s soccer is not so important for the Association.
When new authorities arrived, they told everyone that they will be the ones to make women’s soccer popular in Argentina and to give the girls the importance they deserve. The National Team started to train again and they had a friendly match against Uruguay in Montevideo. Argentina won 3-0 and things appeared to be getting better. But then, we heard how things really were directly from the players: they were not getting one peso (Argentinean currency) for being part of the National Team and their conditions were very poor, to say the least.
So last Wednesday, and after talking for several days with AFA’s authorities and with coach Carlos Borrello without receiving a positive response, the players issued a press release stating their situation. The release said that they were not getting any money for being part of the team. This was the main problem. Here, we should take a moment to explain that women’s soccer is an amateur sport in our country, and the players have to work and study so they cannot dedicate their whole time to soccer. So, whenever they are training for the National Team, they loss a day of work or a day of school. They stated also that they do not have the appropriate facilities. They requested basic things: they asked for a natural turf pitch. They also asked for a hotel stay. Probably, if you are not from Argentina, you may be asking ‘How and why these girls are requesting a hotel stay?’ Well, this is because last time they travel to Uruguay, they slept on a bus until the time of the match. They slept on a bus! Truly unbelievable!
Argentina is a country in which most people believe that soccer is for boys. But, slowly, things are changing and people are opening their minds, but AFA leaders seem to be still a bit ‘old fashioned’.
This is a translation of letter from Argentine women's fútbol team declaring a strike. They haven't been paid, they have poor facilities ETC pic.twitter.com/1kKUBXhKrn
— Brenda Elsey (@Politicultura) September 21, 2017
We think it is a must that our players receive what is fair. We are not asking they get as much money as Lionel Messi (which, by the way, would be awesome). We know it is still not possible yet, because women’s soccer does not generate lots of revenues. But we do request for normal working conditions. We request dignity because in this country people breathe soccer. We really need a solution. And we need it now.
Creator and editor of @BocaFútbolFemenino and gladiadorasxeneizes.com | Football columnist at @golxeneizeradio and @BocaEsNuestro