The equality of women, a beacon that illuminates the new Sports Law | sports

The equality of women, a beacon that illuminates the new Sports Law | sports

The great problem of women's sport in Spain is not the tremendous lack of media visibility that is condemned but the lack of equality before the law that athletes suffer. The first commitment of the Secretary of State for Sport, María José Rienda, when she took office last June was a new Sports Law that would end the problem and in just three months of work, a commission of experts and experts (parity: three women and three men) has drafted a preliminary draft that, according to the Government's forecasts, the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Guirao, should present on January 11 at the first Council of Ministers in 2019.

The text, to which EL PAÍS has had access, guarantees the equality of women, marginalized in the current law since 1990. The new law aims to adapt the norm to a much more developed and professionalized sport than three decades ago. It also highlights the rights of athletes with disabilities, those of the LGTBIQ collective (lesbians, gays, transsexuals, bisexuals, intersex and those who are exploring their sexual identity) and the fight against violence against women. The legislative proposal reaches the Government after the federations have had partial access to its content, a way of proceeding that emphasizes the desire for independence and submission of the federations to the decisions of the State. Great work has also been developed in open sessions in Congress and Senate with athletes, paralympic committee and professional leagues. "The sport of high level and the representation of Spanish sport are matters of public interest", is one of the guiding principles of the law that enshrines a kind of status of the athlete, as read in its preamble.

The 1990 law only recognized the obligation to be professionals to the male and first division football leagues and the ACB League of basketball. The labor rights of other athletes and of all women depend on the will of their employers, since the law did not oblige to establish a collective agreement that both parties had to respect. Women, in particular, are not subject to labor contracts, but administrative, false self-employment, which lack social security on behalf of the company and other rights enjoyed by all workers, including maternity leave or sick leave or injury, which are not contemplated in the contracts.

The preliminary draft to be approved by the Government of Pedro Sanchez states in its preamble that "the law allows the different sports modalities and specialties, regardless of the sex of their athletes, to be professionals under conditions that ensure the viability and stability of competitions in which they participate ". It also establishes the obligation to balance the presence of men and women in the governing bodies of federations and other sports entities. It enters with force in the matter of the pregnancy and the maternity permits of the sportsmen and legislates for the first time that the prizes for men and women must be equal.

To guarantee all this, a new definition of professional athlete and a new category of competitions, called "professionalized", is proposed, an intermediate step between the professionals and the amateur. The concept of professional athlete, which was previously limited only to those who had a working relationship as an employee, in the new law is open to "all those who receive income from participating in sports competitions on a regular basis, either on their own or alien. " Professionalized competitions may be organized by federations or private entities and the law will include all those, such as the women's soccer, basketball, handball or volleyball leagues, which have a relevant but insufficient economic volume. Professional athletes who participate in professional competitions will enjoy the same rights as those of professional leagues.

"The State could not remain unanswered due to the reduction of rights that sportswomen suffer when they become pregnant, such as the loss of aid and subsidies under the pretext of not having competed, reduction of their rights as members of sports entities as a loss of right to vote in the general assemblies of the sports federations, as well as the manifest difficulties at the time of conciliation and the reincorporation to sporting activity after maternity ", is explained in its preamble. "For this, athletes will retain their voting rights even if they do not meet the requirements established in the Law and will retain their rights as high level athletes once this period has elapsed."

Inclusion of the disabled

Federations of disabled athletes should be integrated in the one corresponding to the modality of sport they practice, provided that the inclusion is made by the corresponding international federation, to take advantage of the structures of the federation to make the sport grow and to consecrate the equality of the collective in access to practice and sports competition. Currently, only 10 international federations guarantee the inclusion in their structures of disabled athletes: canoeing, cycling, curling, horse riding, rowing, tennis, table tennis, archery, triathlon and sailing.

The new law, on the other hand, will maintain the public character of the sports licenses issued by the federations to control "respect for the rights of underage athletes or foreigners, as well as any expression of gender, orientation and sexual identity to when granting or denying them. "

After being approved by the Council of Ministers, the draft bill must go through a lengthy administrative and legislative path before being converted into law by the Congress of Deputies.

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