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SPORTS | 16-03-2019 11:04

Women's game set to turn pro in Argentina

Women’s football will soon go pro in Argentina. Last Saturday, March 9, the president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio ‘Chiqui’ Tapia confirmed that the sport’s local governing body would soon establish a women’s professional league.

"We will financially support the country’s first 16 clubs, and the development of professional women’s football will continue in Argentina forever,” Tapia said.

Tapia is set to expand on the AFA’s plans today, detailing the steps AFA will take to support the women’s game.

Women’s teams in Argentina currently train and compete like men, but lack the resources of a professional league. Low, sometimes unpaid salaries, and a lack of medical coverage hold women back in the sport. Professionalisation, long a demand of many of the country’s most famous female footballers, will open up new resources and facilities to players in Argentina.

“For the first time, the Women’s National Team will have their own dressing-rooms at the Ezeiza field,” Tapia said last Saturday, referring to the AFA training facilities on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

The announcement comes just days after hundreds of thousands of women across Argentina demonstrated for equality on International Women’s Day. While Tapia says the professional league’s announcement was scheduled to coincide with marches on March 8, plans were delayed another week as AFA works out details with different sectors.

High-profile players like Macarena Sánchez have led the fight for equality in the sport in recent weeks. The Argentine footballer recently split with the UAI Urquiza Sports Club, and is suing the club to support the push for a professional women’s league.

Feminist campaigning groups like Mujeres de la Matria Latinoamericana Luchamos (MuMaLa) have also spoken out about professionalisation on Twitter.

MuMaLa applauded Macarena on Twitter yesterday, saying her fight had been crucial to the decision to turn the game pro. “Macarena made herself heard by showing the problems that Women’s Soccer in Argentina is going through, after having dedicated seven years of her life to the UAI Urquiza club and being thrown out,” they said.

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