The union elections Women's Football Spanish were resolved just before Christmas with a capital surprise. AFE, the hegemonic union until now in both men and women, lost its majority in favor of the unknown Futpro. Under that acronym hides the first central that is formed exclusively by women and that was created at the beginning of November. In front of her is Amanda Gutiérrez, labor lawyer who has taken charge of this organization after several footballers for whom he has worked privately in recent years asked him to do so. In this interview with The newspaper of Spain, Gutiérrez analyzes the challenges facing Spanish women's football in the coming months.
How did Futpro come about?
Some players already tried a few years ago to launch a union only for women, but the idea fell a little on deaf ears, largely because women's football was not yet in the current moment. For me, it was more than a year since they proposed to take up the idea again, it was something progressive. The current moment was very good to launch it, because the clubs are in transition, constituting the new professional league. And they wanted a person as president who could dedicate herself full time to the union, which an active soccer player cannot do.
How do you explain that a union born in early November wins a union election just a few weeks later?
It was incredible. The BOE publishes the union's constitution on November 4. We did not want to announce it yet, but that in a way forces us to make a formal and official presentation, which we do on December 1. On the 2nd, I realized, through the press, that on the 29th the union elections had been called. Futpro does not know anything, nor is it invited, nor is its opinion asked... We had two weeks to campaign, we did not have time to appear in all the changing rooms in Spain. The outlook was very negative.
I gather they were counting on achieving minimal representation.
Completely. I told the players "that you know that this has come to us like this, we have no resources or information about the process, this is lost." And they were the ones who told me not to be so negative, that perhaps we would surprise. And luckily they kept my mouth shut. In the end, they are the ones who are there on a day-to-day basis and they knew that there were many players who were going to support a union like this.
On the part of the players, they have already taken advantage of it very well and the creation of the union is a reflection. Why? Because as Alexia said in her speech, there are no excuses. It has already been shown that if you invest and trust me and treat me like a professional, I will give you results. This has been shown by both Alexia and the rest of his teammates at Barça. Now Futpro can calmly imitate Alexia's speech to defend that there are no excuses, that we cannot be told that we do not generate or interest, because we have the best in the world in Spain. I'm no longer worth the little speech that I can't give you money because it's throwing it away. Because its not true.
"It has been shown that if you trust and invest in a player, it will pay off"
What do you know about the status of negotiations for the professional league charter?
Our priority objective is the new collective agreement, but to negotiate it a new employer's association is needed, which will not exist until the professional league is definitively constituted. It is a vicious circle. I want to be positive and think that sooner than we hope there will be a solution and the league can be established, because the clubs have already reached many approaches.
But that discourse of the approaches has been heard for several months and there is still no white smoke.
It's true. On the day of our presentation, I already said that the immediate intention was to speak with the CSD and with the two blocks of clubs to find out what was happening. The problem is that the elections have been linked with the Christmas break and it has not been possible to advance too much. The latest news that reaches us is that the agreement is very close.
Do you share the position of the CSD to seek unanimity against the majority agreement that 12 of the 16 clubs have had for months?
The CSD declares women's football professional, gives it a vote of confidence, and also wants to help the constitution of this league by injecting 31 million euros. The clubs then propose two different model statutes and the CSD is asked to position itself for one of them, but The Government cannot be asked to take a position in a dispute between private entities. We also understand that a single model of bylaws must arrive at the CSD and the clubs, despite that vote of confidence that they are given, are not being able to draft a single model. We are losing time.
"We are wasting time because the clubs are not able to agree on statutes"
Do you set a deadline to take a step forward if negotiations between clubs continue to be unsuccessful?
Deadline right now, no, we have to study the situation after Reyes, meet with the players, with the clubs and finally with the CSD. We want to listen to all parties and will offer to help as necessary to achieve consensus. If we see that there is no way, the players will have to do something, of course.
Is the strike on the table?
The problem is that AFE threatens to strike against the CSD, which it blames for everything, although days later it declines at a press conference and assures that it does not blame anyone. The players do not understand the reason for the strike threat, who is being pressured. The strike is a very powerful instrument of pressure, but if it is misused or abused it loses all meaning., and of course Futpro would not support a strike against the CSD.
One of the big short-term problems is that First IberdrolaWhile waiting for these Statutes, it is becoming invisible, without television it is many parties.
We are losing a golden opportunity at a time when we have the best player in the world, Barça winning the Champions League, Real Madrid and other important clubs worldwide ... But not only that, we are also devaluing the product. Without television, there will come a time when people lose interest and that will cause television rights to be worth less when you want and can sell them. And they are a very important source of income for the clubs, whose fall the players will end up paying, because the clubs will use it as an excuse when the collective agreement is negotiated so as not to raise wages.
"Without television, it will end up losing interest and devaluing women's football"
Is it possible to separate women's football from men's power wars?
If only. I would love to see a panorama in women's football in which we only talk about women's football, without taking into account the fights that may occur in men's. I understand that there are such disputes, but they cannot be brought here, which is what has been going on for too long. The players are already very tired and that is another reason for the birth of Futpro, because we are going to deal with female issues without being affected by male ones.
How do you define the current collective agreement?
It is a historic agreement, because it is the first to be signed in Spain, but it is a very minimal agreement. Things are allowed that shouldn't have even been considered, like the issue of bias. The partial days, which are totally fictitious and invented, are conceived so that a player receives below the minimum interprofessional wage. It cannot be that there are still players who cannot dedicate themselves only to their sport because their agreement allows them to charge below the SMI, partiality is something that must be eliminated. Y the full-time salary, which is 16,000 euros gross per yearIt must go up, because the sports life of a soccer player is very short and charging that you retire without exits.
In what other aspects are advances and improvements urgent?
The compensation list. There are still U23 players who are condemned to renew with their club even if they do not want to or to go abroad as the only alternative. We are going to meet with those affected to find out what they want, if they want to modify or eliminate it. Y another important aspect is motherhood, which is a word that only appears once in an exclusive agreement for women and is to refer to the last year of the contract and the possibility of renewing or not in case of pregnancy. There are many situations that would have to be regulated: if I can take the baby to the concentrations, if my partner can accompany me so that he is cared for while I train ...
How is the situation of the Rayo players?
It is a sittuation regrettableAlthough I don't think it's a gender issue, because several of their men's teams are just as bad. It is an issue that AFE is taking, which is the union that advises them and is following this matter, so FutPro is not going to step there. We respect that they are entrusting their representation in AFE and we hope that in the end the club will comply with the collective agreement, which it is not doing, and treat the female players as it should. It is a situation that no player on any team likes.