FIFA introduce maternity leave for female players

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FIFA has introduced new rules that guarantee maternity leave and working rights for players in the women’s game.

The rules were proposed last month and were given approval by the FIFA Council on Friday.

Pregnant players will now be given maternity leave lasting 14 weeks and must be paid at least two-thirds of their salary by their clubs.

Clubs will be obliged to reintegrate the player when they return and to provide adequate medical support, although they can register a new player to cover the 14-week period.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino
FIFA president Gianni Infantino

In addition, clubs will be unable to terminate the contract of a player on the basis of their pregnancy. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in an order to pay compensation to the player as well as sporting sanctions – and potentially a fine – being issued to the offending club.

Speaking after the rules – which will be enforced worldwide – were given the green light, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “If we are serious about boosting the women’s game, we have to look at all these aspects.

“Female players need to have stability in their careers and if they take maternity leave, they should not have to worry about when they are ready to play again.”

Speaking earlier this month, Wales Women manager Jayne Ludlow said: “I think many would say it’s probably been a long time coming.

Wales Women manager Jayne Ludlow
Wales Women manager Jayne Ludlow

“The game is developing so quickly right now and this was obviously just another part that needed to be done because if you are a professional female, just like in any other walk of life, if you’re a professional in any other job, you would expect these things.

“Thankfully for females who are playing in the game now who do want a family, then it’s fantastic for them.

“When you break it all down, those professional players need to be looked after in a professional manner, so this for me is part of that.”