Elite female footballers including USA goalkeeper Hope Solo call for change to working conditions

Elite female footballers including USA goalkeeper Hope Solo call for change to working conditions

Leading elite players including Hope Solo have called for better working conditions for women's footballers.

lisa-higgins
Lisa Higgins

Two of the world's best shot-stoppers have called for better working conditions throughout the game for fellow professionals.

Top female players adamant working conditions requirement improvement

After FIFPro released figures from the highly anticipated working conditions in women's football report, Hope Solo and Hedvig Lindahl spoke about the necessity to ensure better working conditions and practices for colleagues. 

Speaking at FIFPro's conference on women's football in the Netherlands last week, both Solo and Lindahl were adamant that enough was enough and the working practices for thousands of female players had to change.

Solo said that in "the two decades" that she has played professionally she has "seen great players walk away from the game."

The American continued by saying that "at some point we have to put our foot down and say enough is enough."

"We are not going to do this for free", said Solo, adding that her viewpoint remains the same "even if it is for the pride of our country.”

Hedvig added by saying that "it should be better – no seriously, this should be better."

FIFPro's survey drew responses from 3,295 players, of whom 50% of players did not even get paid, 87% have or are considering leaving the game entirely, 3.5% claimed to have suffered sexual harassment and 5.4% of players suffered homophobic abuse.

 

 

Women's football is worth fighting for

There were calls from other delegates to conference that playing conditions must improve, with Santos keeper Thaís Picarte unwavering in belief that her sport is worth the sacrifice to fight for.

Picarte said: "Coming here makes me realize that I am not alone."

She went on to say that football is a sport "I have dedicated my life to" and "I want to carry on fighting for that."

Other delegates decided to use the conference platform to discuss issues facing players outside the confines of playing the game. Focusing on education as an integral part of building a solid foundation for progression.

Praising the players union for their approach of the way in which female players are supported was human rights advocate and South African international Amanda DIamini.

She said that "in the pursuit of professionalising women’s football", FIFPro is in addition "focusing on inspiring and empowering women footballers. 

"It’s a holistic overview in terms of taking care of women footballers.”

With the full report due to be released later this year, the initial findings of the report should give the football community food for thought.

Its unprecedented findings are an important barometer of where the women's game is in terms of its evolution. 

As FIFPro's general secretary Theo Van Seggelen succinctly laid down the gauntlet for those working in women's football: "The challenge now is to act." 

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