Spain's players and coaching staff celebrate their recent triumph in the inaugural Women's Nations League. EFE
Spanish government slaps inequality penalties on world of football

Spanish government slaps inequality penalties on world of football

Spain's Ministry of Labour has imposed fines on several major clubs and, additionally, the national football association for not implementing the anti-harassment protocol in the infamous Jenni Hermoso case

Isaac Asenjo


Wednesday, 6 March 2024, 17:33


Yolanda Díaz, the Minister of Labour in Spain, has taken another step to make the government's support for Spanish women footballers more visible by pushing for sanctions against the football world for its lack of equality, as required by law since 2022.

Díaz, who is also a deputy prime minister, announced last summer that she would mobilise the Labour Inspectorate for effective wage equality in sport. Now she has announced the imposition of fines by her ministry on the Spanish football association (RFEF) and teams such as Barcelona, as well as 16 other clubs, for not having implemented equality plans. The RFEF was singled out for not activating the anti-harassment protocol in the case of Luis Ruiables and the kiss on Jenni Hermoso's lips after the Spanish national team won the World Cup.

International Women’s Day

In an interview on Spanish national radio, the Sumar leader confirmed that "there is an infraction report" against the federation for these events, although she admitted that although the "maximum amount of the fines" has been imposed, the "amounts are small" as it is a "documentary" process led by the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate, as there is no employment relationship between the players and the clubs. "But we are sending a strong message during the week of 8M [8 March, International Women’s Day]: it's over," Díaz said, adding that "it is a democratic lesson that there can be no sexism in sport". Failure to implement such an equality plan can lead to penalties of up to 7,500 euros for serious offences and from 7,501 euros to 225,018 euros for very serious offences.

World champions

"We sent our world champions without an equality plan and without a plan for harassment in the workplace, which is very serious," Díaz said. The minister revealed that it was Futpro, the professional association of women footballers, who asked the Labour ministry for the inspections. Previously, Amanda Gutiérrez, a lawyer who presides over a union made up exclusively of women footballers, said: "Spain was exposed for not being able to protect Jenni Hermoso, the patriarchy still does not understand that what happened was wrong." In a statement, Futpro said: "It is essential that the most important institutions in our society commit themselves to the values of equality, respect and progress that citizens demand.”

Pandora’s box

It is worth remembering that the chaos following the 'Rubiales case' tarnished one of the most important achievements in the history of Spanish women's sport, and opened a Pandora’s box in terms of the situation of women in national football. The non-consensual kiss of the former president of the Spanish Football Federation on the lips of Jenni Hermoso, La Roja's all-time top scorer, caused a tsunami of comments under the hashtag #SeAcabó (#It'sOver) which swept the planet, putting the media spotlight on the inequalities suffered by female footballers and sportswomen in general. The fallout provoked a revolution in the structure of the RFEF with the momentum of the global movement against male chauvinism.

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