Female footballer takes legal action against her former club and federation


Argentine female footballer Macarena Sanchez is taking legal action against her former club, UAI Urquiza and the Argentine football federation (A.F.A.) for not recognizing her as a professional player.

The case is unprecedented in women’s football in Argentina. Sanchez had played for UAI Urquiza, one of the best women’s teams in South America, since 2012. In Argentina, all players in the women’s league are considered amateur by both their clubs and the federation.

Sanchez argues that many players should be recognised as professionals but clubs mask the professional status of women players from public authorities. This is done by paying them under the table or jobs outside football.

The 27-year-old had been compensated by the club since 2014 through part-time work she had done in an administrative position at a company with links to the directors of UAI.

She has received the equivalent of US$10 a month in expenses. Whereas, according to Sanchez, all of the players on the club’s male team, which plays in the third-tier of the men’s league, have professional football contracts and salaries.

Sanchez’s complaint comes as a result of her being told by coach German Portanove this month that she was no longer required by the club which means she cannot finish the season with the club or move elsewhere for another six months.

She is now looking for compensation for her work as a footballer during her last seven years with UAI Urquiza. The complaint has only been filed now because Sanchez understandably did not want to put her football career in jeopardy.

For Sanchez, the case is not about money, but about principle, fighting for women’s rights and women’s football in Argentina moving towards the professionalism that exists in men’s football.

The legal procedure for this case means that the Employment Ministry will invite the club and federation to a meeting with Sanchez in an attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement.

If this proves unsuccessful, the case will either go to a football tribunal or employment court. Sanchez’s lawyers have said that if her claim is rejected in Argentina, they will take the case to an international human rights court.

Sanchez has received support from both male and female players. Most notably, Juan Pablo Sorin who played for Argentina on 74 occasions between 1995 and 2006 has been in contact with her to show his support.

The Argentina federation and Sanchez’s former club has not yet commented.


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