The row over the Women’s World Cup being played on artificial turf was the “tipping point” which pushed world players’ union FIFPro to open its doors to women players, said Caroline Jonsson, head of FIFPro’s new women’s football committee.
FIFPro on Friday announced a new global initiative for female players to gain direct membership to the organisation for the first time in its 50-year history
It comes two days before the Women’s World Cup final between holders Japan and the United States in Vancouver, allowing player representation in countries where there is no other players’ union.
A 37-year-old former Swedish international goalkeeper, Jonsson, said: “I realised that no matter how much drive you have or how much you dream, you need a structure.”
US star Abby Wambach was among a group of top women’s players who launched a gender discrimination lawsuit against artificial turf which they withdrew before the tournament.
“That (turf) was the question which made us decide that women needed support. This was the tipping point for FIFPro getting involved in women’s football,” said Jonsson.
Theo van Seggelen, Secretary General of FIFPro said: “Female players have been disregarded and disrespected. We tried to intervene but it was too late.
“As far as FIFPro is concerned we will not play on artificial turf. I think the situation should be the same as for men.”
Dutchman van Seggelen blasted world governing body FIFA as “very conservative and out of touch”.
“We are governed by people who are not interested in the game at all. I think women can become a driving force in this.
“That is what football has been crying out for.
FIFPro’s new advisory board will include current national team players including Spain’s Veronica Boquete, Nigeria’s Rita Chikwelu, Mexico’s Monica Gonzalez, Sweden’s Lotta Schelin, Netherland’s Kristen van de Ven and Australia’s Lydia Williams.
Williams said the World Cup in Canada demonstrated the inequalities in the game.
“There are still some issues and conditions that would not be accepted in the men’s game – playing on artificial turf and sharing the some hotel with opposition teams,” said the Washington Spirit player.
Spain captain Boquete highlighted the problems they had faced as they demanded that their coach of 27 years Ignacio Quereda be sacked after their early exit.
“We are here today to defend players rights, we really believe it’s time for change,” Boquete, who won the Champions League final with German club Frankfurt, said.
“We have been disrespected so many times and that has to stop.”
Nigeria’s and Hull City’s Sone Aluko, brother of English international Eniola Aluko outlined the differences in his sibling’s career and his.
“We had the same dreams, but the paths we took were poles apart, by 17 I was financially self-sufficient.
“My sister is now 28. I think that a lot of things that we’re going to achieve she’s not going to get the benefit of, but it’s for the next generation.” – Agence France-Presse