Liga MX Femenil

Liga MX Femenil Players Revisit Working Conditions In Latest AMFpro Meeting

Almost a year ago, Liga MX Femenil players published “Cuando Ellas Juegan” (When They [She] Play), a manifesto that detailed their desire to seek better work conditions through the AMFpro (the Mexican Footballers’ Association).

“We [demand] that women be recognized as people, and whole human beings. This is, that soccer players and the rest of the women in soccer can be mothers, students, and workers by choice, without the need to face the historical and systematically imposed gender barriers”, the manifesto read.

On Tuesday night, AMFPro released a statement that confirms representatives of the league’s 18 teams (including former and current national-team players like Mónica Ocampo, Rebeca Bernal, and Daniela Espinosa) met with FIFPRO Chief Women’s Football Officer Amanda Vandervort, and “after being informed of the status of different developing topics, and sharing the plans in benefit of the players, the following proprietary actions to develop during this year were defined, among which included:

• Determining and proposing a base salary for professional players to the corresponding authorities.
• Having a collective bargaining agreement
• Establishing major medical expenses insurance that is ideal for professional players.

AMFpro appreciates the commitment and participation of the players for one more year and commits to keep advancing with them on the professionalization of this branch.”

It is a significant moment for the women’s league, especially considering the nationwide attention feminist movements and the denunciation of violence against women currently have in the public eye in Mexico. While Liga MX Femenil and the Mexican federation have released social responsibility initiatives and a newly-announced social media accounts focusing primarily on the women’s national team, there have not been any particular promises made regarding specific improvements on players’ work conditions. In fact, the focus seems to be on promoting women’s soccer in Mexico from a marketing standpoint and how it impacts the lives of those outside the league.

This strategy stands in stark contrast to Beatriz Pereyra’s lengthy report published in Proceso, “Una liga donde se sienten fuera de lugar” (“A league where they feel off side”), that reveals the lack of protocols to prevent and sanction sexual harassment and abuse between and towards players, the lack of psychological support to players as young as 12 who have made professional debuts (an age minimum of 15 years was set last year), or to address cases of players with naturally high testosterone levels.

The article also mentions players’ testimonies regarding their contracts, including clauses forbidding players to discuss any issues with the media, and the control club press offices exert over them, as well as the recurring problems in lack of adequate salaries, meals, housing, training, uniforms and travel arrangements for them. Since the piece was published on March 7th, no official comment from the league or clubs has been made to address these situations.

While the league has shown tremendous growth in its three years of existence and can become a force for positive cultural changes, it shouldn’t gloss over the structural issues, much less fail to acknowledge that these are indeed tied to gender. The growth of the league should be measured as much in the economic, physical and psychological impact it has on its players as it does in terms of revenue and the development of a competitive and appealing product. Players should not have to suffer any form of abuse at the expense of advancing their athletic careers.

Players are working to ensure the foundations of Liga MX Femenil are not built upon cruelty and neglect. The league, and everyone else for that matter, should not just listen, but stand side by side with them to help them build a fairer sport and hope the manifesto helps all aspects of these issues to move forward.



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