RFEF bids to end Liga Iberdrola strike with €1.15m salary offer

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has moved to break the impasse that has engulfed women’s football in Spain by offering €1.15m ($1.27m) to boost player salaries across the top-tier Liga Iberdrola.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales said that the funding would allow each team to offer up to 18 players a minimum salary of €16,000 which could rise to €20,000 once broadcasting contracts are finalised.

The move comes just days after rights agency and production group Mediapro said that it would be willing to pay €1.5m to Spain’s Association of Women’s Football Clubs (ACFF) to help avoid the strike action.

Rubiales has said that the only condition of receiving the funding is for the league’s clubs to end the strike threat that is scheduled for November 16-17 and that the rights revert back to the RFEF to negotiate a collective sale from the 2022-23 season.

The RFEF had proposed a sum of €500,000 per season to each of the 16 top-tier clubs in return for their media rights. However, in making the new offer, Rubiales said that it would not be “logical” to ask for €500,00 per club when “more than a quarter of the season already passed”.

The 2019-20 Primera Iberdrola has been blighted by issues over media rights, while the proposed strike action was against the size of minimum salary increases.

Mediapro agreed a collective rights agreement with 12 Primera Iberdrola clubs earlier this year during the league’s inaugural rights tender. That deal is worth €3m per season between 2019-20 and 2021-22, but does not include the rights to Barcelona, Athletic Club (Bilbao), Sevilla or Tacón’s home matches.

The ACFF has called for a minimum gross annual salary of €20,000 for female footballers in Spain alongside various other rights such as 30 days of holiday leave, a maternity leave policy and a framework to legislate for injuries.

Rubiales said that he had supported all of these demands “from the first moment” they were requested.

Barcelona were at the centre of the media rights wrangle earlier this season as the Catalan club defied a court order by broadcasting its match against Atlético Madrid. The court hearing in Barcelona’s 47th court of first instance had ruled that Barcelona could not broadcast the match as it had failed to gain the consent of Mediapro and Atlético Madrid.

Mediapro threatened the RFEF with sanctions after it was blocked from broadcasting the Primera Iberdrola match between Madrid CFF and Real Betis Féminas on Sunday, September 8.