World football’s ruling body Fifa is to introduce regulations to protect the rights of women players, including mandatory maternity leave of 14 weeks as well as fines and bans for clubs that sack players who become pregnant.
The suggestions will go to Fifa’s Council next month. If they are approved they will come into force across all of Fifa’s 211 member federations.
“As we try to accelerate the professionalisation of the women’s game, which is one of our strategic objectives, it is really important that we evolve and adapt the regulatory framework around the game at the same time,” said Sarai Bareman, Fifa’s chief women’s football officer.
While many players in Europe are covered by the continent’s employment laws, Fifa says it wants to create global minimum standards.
“We want to see more women being able to earn a living playing football whilst at the same time being able to have a family life and being mothers,” Bareman added.
“It is important that we provide the necessary regulatory framework to protect those women,” she added.
Fifa’s council will weigh up proposals that include a maternity leave of at least 14 weeks at a minimum of two thirds of the player’s contracted salary.
Clubs will be told that after maternity leave, players must be reintegrated and provided with adequate medical and physical support at club facilities otherwise they will face what Fifa bosses describe as sporting punishments.
"The idea is to protect female players before, during and after child birth," added Emilio Garcia, Fifa's chief legal and compliance officer.