A Landmark Legal Case in Football in Argentina

A Landmark Legal Case in Football in Argentina

Macarena Sanchez is a 27 year-old forward
who, since 2012, has been playing for UAI Urquiza in the
Campeonato de Fútbol Femenino, the highest level of women’s football in Argentina.
Unlike their men’s team, who reside in the third tier of the national structure, Urquiza’s
women’s team are one of the most successful in the country,
with only Boca Juniors and River Plate having won more
championships since 1991. However, women’s football is not professional
in Argentina. Instead of proper salaries, players are often
limited to per diem expenses and given part-time, non-sporting roles within the organisation.
Since 2012, Sanchez has been supporting herself with a
400 peso per month travel allowance – the equivalent of just over
£8 – and by working in the administrative department of a company connected to the Urquiza
directors. Worryingly, Urquiza’s reputation for looking
after their women footballers is better than most. In an
interview with The Guardian’s Suzanne Wrack, Sanchez revealed that a majority of clubs
actually charge their players to compete. With many not funding
the basic tenets of sporting life – including training, sustenance,
and expenses associated with injury recovery and treatment – the players themselves are
left to foot the bills. It’s a common complaint, not just in Argentina.
In December 2018, Colombian international Melissa Ortiz
described why she had walked away from her national team, citing poor facilities, weak
training ground structure, and non-payment of expenses.
In January 2019, Macarena Sanchez found out just how precarious her own professional career
was: Urquiza announced that she was no longer required
as a footballer and, with signings of new players only allowed in
the close season, she found herself without another club and unable to play football until
at least the middle of 2019.
But Sanchez is a firebrand. A committed feminist with a tattoo of Frida Kahlo on her forearm,
she is suing UAI Urquiza for compensation for her seven
years of sporting service. She has little interest in finance and is
instead using the case to take aim at a societal culture which is, in her words, “retrograde,
misognyistic and macho”.
According to her lawyers, the resistance to professionalism in women’s football is an
intentional ploy which allows the clubs and the AFA, their umbrella
organisation, to maintain control over the sport. While those
opposed to paying women players draw on the trite arguments about a lack of coverage,
interest and commercial viability, Sanchez contends that
that perceived lack of interest is an illusion perpetuated by
promotional and broadcasting inertia. The recent history of the Argentinian national
team supports those grievances and also testifies to the
derisory attitudes surrounding women’s football. The national team went on strike in 2017 over
the nonpayment of a $10 stipend and, in 2018, ADIDAS made
the decision to use models rather than players to
promote the shirt designed for that year’s Copa America. While those are complaints familiar
to women footballers worldwide, they seem particularly
pervasive in South America and conform to a long history of
neglect. According to research conducted by Brenda
Elsey, a professor of football politics in Latin America at Hofstra
University, the women’s game can be traced back at least as far as 1923. Nevertheless,
some of the incidents reported by Elsey are dispiriting – including
Estudiantes winning the title, but the federation forgetting to
give them a trophy and, worse, Gabriel Tamrgo, president of Colombian club Deportes Tolima,
referring to women’s football as “a breeding ground
for lesbianism”. Macarena Sanchez’s aims do not begin and
end with her own compensation. If her action is successful, she
intends to donate part of her settlement in aid of progressing women’s football in Argentina.
More specifically, she hopes to use the case as
a means to catalyse local professionalism and to also guarantee the
rights denied to her and her contemporaries for future generations. Beyond literal employment,
Sanchez also believes that women footballers must be integrated
into the the Futbolistas Argentinos Agremiados, the
Argentinian equivalent of the English PFA, and that their careers must be safeguarded
by the appropriate medical coverage.
“We want to live from football” she says, “we want to play football and be able to
enjoy it.” Sanchez originates from Sante Fe, sacred ground
in Argentinian football and the birthplace of Gabriel
Batistuta, Jorge Valdano, and Lionel Messi. If she is successful in her case, she too
could leave an indelible imprint on
her sport.

100 thoughts on “A Landmark Legal Case in Football in Argentina

  1. As always it will come down to financial viability. People no the clubs will have to put their money where there mouth is plain and simple. These clubs are players are businesses, thus if the supporting dollars from the fan base is not there this idea will fold like a cheap envelope ready for mail!

  2. I have nothing but sympathy for the fight against discrimination and agree with most points brought forward in the video. However, the idea that women should earn the same as men in football seems just illogical to me. Not from a principled standpoint, I consider it important that any existing wage gaps for women doing the same work as men are closed. However, football is not the kind of work this logic applies to. You can't say that every goal or every win is the same. Among men playing the sport, you earn substantially less money in the lower leagues compared to the top tier competitions. And if you wanted to pay a female footballer in relation to the quality of play, there would be no professional female footballers at all (as shown for example by the Australian Women's National Team, who lost 0-7 to the U15 youth club of the Newcastle Jets, who are nowhere near the world's elite even with their senior squad).

    So, in my opinion, the only measurement that could be fairly applied to women's football would be the buzz it creates. How many people are interested in the sport? In Germany, during big tournaments, the Women's NT gets great ratings, over 7 million people watch the games. Granted, that's still only a fourth of the attention the male NT draws, but its a start. After all, I think popularizing Women's Football also works a lot via icons. You rarely get brands like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar or Pogba there. And, maybe even more importantly: While there are physical limitations to Women's Football, I'd bet that there are a lot of smart, well-spoken women whose understanding of the game exceeds that of former male professionals who get paid tons of money to tell platitudes to a microphone. The male domination in punditry is even harder to explain for me than the wage gap between male and female football.

  3. Often reminded how brilliant this channel is. Bringing us super interesting football stories we never hear about otherwise. Thanks tifo x

  4. I personally think that even the men footballers should join in on propelling women football across the globe!!!!

  5. Playing any sport professionally isn’t a right. The free market determines who gets paid to play a children’s game for a living. There are far more serious issues in life than being paid professionals while playing a game.

  6. This kind of video is the reason why Tifo Football is not only the best football YouTube channel, but one of the best sports channels on the entire platform, period. If Copa90 and Tifo did a collaboration video, that would be unbelievable. Combining your highlighting of underreported issues in the sport with Copa90’s on the ground reporting would end up being almost like a mix between The Guardian and a Vice News video, except dedicated to football.

  7. This is fucked up, just like how the USWNT isn't paid as much as USMNT even though USWNT is watched more and the USMNT runs a $2 million deficit

  8. love this Video! You always bring light to the important things that alot of us somehow dont even know about. props!

  9. Tifo Tifo Tifo! Will there be more videos on women's football, given that the Women's World Cup is coming up?? I damn hope so!!!

    I also wonder if having a woman narrate some of them would be a good idea. Maybe it'd be unpopular…

    Also, the argument that women players don't get paid because they don't attract as much money and attention is awfully redundant: the institutions and media don't give them much regard or attention, which then makes the sport unprofitable, which then doesn't attract attention, which then makes the sport unprofitable, which then…….

  10. Nothing new here, women doing regular things. suing
    im already feeling sad for her future husband that i dont even know.
    she will sue his ass for money!

  11. make a video about why Qatar Saint Germain are soooooo baaaad hahahahahahha with the most overrated player in history of football mbashit

  12. See this is what feminism is meant to be. Not stupid purple haired women complaining about how air conditioning is sexist towards women. This I can support

  13. If there's money in it, it will be there, that's how professional sports have always worked. If there isn't money to be made, then there really isn't much anyone can do. Some people don't seem to understand that things cost money and if something isn't viable financially then there isn't any incentive to continually fund something. I hope things work out but its not as simple as "give money" and it will solve everything. Professional teams live and die off how much money they can bring it, or else they dissolve

  14. You're wrong… She used the case to launch her political career… As all feminist-lefties seek to live off the state paying them… Do a better research next time

  15. Great video (as always)… would love to see a link in the chain between the men's teams and the women's teams… i.e. Go and watch Arsenal WFC play and get 25% off your ticket price for watching Arsenal FC play the following day/week (for example)… As soon as people get to know the players they'll start to get behind them! Great to take young fans to watch to, as then there is twice as much chance of seeing your local club have success! I'll be watching the World Cup this year and cheering on Phil Neville's Lionesses!

  16. Even Messi believes that the AFA is a huge joke. He had to foot the bill on paying players and staff for the national team.

  17. At the same time, the US national women's soccer team has just sued US Soccer (US equivalent of the FFA) for gender discrimination.

  18. Women's football is shit simple as that. It's a slower pace with less skill non-league football is more exciting.

  19. What a half story of a video you just told. Women’s football brings in zero money yet they want same privileges as men’s football lol. Men’s football makes money and women just want to be compensated. Let’s fund women’s football and give women’s wages for what? It generates no money. Would you pay employees to play football?

  20. One, I laugh when I read that the problem with women’s football is that it just doesn’t bring in enough money. If that was the case indeed, the vast majority of MEN’s teams in Argentina (and in countless other countries) wouldn’t exist, for the simple reason that on a yearly basis they spend (or promise, and end up not paying) more money than what they earn, they create an ever bigger debt, and in many cases it’s been governments that saved clubs (in many ways, either providing money indirectly – state TV channels acquiring TV rights for much more money than what really a product “deserves” – or simply writing off debts).

    Two, the girls in Argentina want to turn professional not to earn… a million pesos per week, but to earn enough to live a decent life. There are some awesome – female – players in Argentina struggling to survive with the money they earn playing football, while there are countless mediocre male players who earn crazy money to scratch their balls in practice and during games, looking indifferent. Girls in Argentina are not after going rich, and the cost of maintaining a professional team would be manageable by at least SOME clubs, those of the first division.

    Three, “who cares?” I read that a lot. I was lucky to be in Buenos Aires when they hosted Panama in the World Cup qualifiers, and to go to Arsenal Sarandí’s stadium for that game. W-o-w… Full to the brim. The interest is there, you just need to… don’t know the right word, let’s say… “cultivate” it, bring it up. Will women’s football in Argentina ever bring in the money (from TV and sponsors) that men’s football does? No. That’s not their target either way. Can it bring enough to support a modest professional league? HELL YEAH. Especially in a country where a big part of the female population actually loves football, and go to the stadium every weekend not because their boyfriend… drags them, but because they get “taught” by their parents to love their club since a very early age.

    Having written all that, and having watched several games in Argentina over the course of three months, my humble opinion is that today, given the level of women’s football in the country, a professional league shouldn’t have more than eight teams (so as to be competitive and financially viable). Starting with eight, paying the girls well enough to stay there instead of moving to… Colombia, for example, and investing in younger categories, gradually they could grow to 10 and more teams, having enough quality players to fill up 10 or more rosters. Now, no more than eight, and by eight I really feel I’m being generous. There is quality, but not that much quantity (of good players), and you can’t have a professional league with 10-0 scores every weekend.

  21. Okay, I am prepared for the tirade of hate that is to follow.

    I see no problem with women not being paid in this situation. At the end of the day, you can dismiss the argument that their is no market for women’s football all you like, but the reality is that I sincerely doubt that the clubs make much money at all from it. You say yourself that the public’s perception of women’s football is derisory, and I’m not saying that this attitude is justified, but is it really fair to expect a club to pay for players that earn them nothing? If the players did earn the club money, then this player would likely not be dropped, and the players themselves would be able to threaten to strike if they aren’t paid, but the fact that they don’t shows that they have very little leverage against the club.

  22. This is outrageous, I looked into videos of her playing cause you know, curiosity and I couldn't find it 😐

  23. ….And this is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that trans-women are turning women's sport into a joke. It would be one thing if these women could just pursue what they want to within the natural economic restrictions which virtually everyone else in the world does. I.e. by receiving commensurate monetary compensation according to what freely acting people are willing to pay for your services. Unfortunately, since no one gives a shit about Argentinian women's football and because she doesn't have the talent to move to one of the few women's leagues some care about she finds herself in a bit of a pickle…

    "Do I accept that no one wants to pay me to play football? Or, do I use a toxic political ideology to try and justify leeching off productive members of society who have no interest in me? Well, I like money and have no sense of integrity so I guess that would be the latter."

    Learn some god damn economics.


  25. I've been quietly hoping for a Tifo treatment or two of the Women's World Cup. This seems like a good video to hope a little less quietly. The USWNT is the only world class football we get to claim in the States.

  26. Wow, gee, I wonder why women's football seems to be at a lower level… Think of all the amazing talent (all the fundamental humanity first and foremost aside, even) that the game's losing that way. Firmly stand that non purely athletic sports (your runs, your hefts) and especially team sports should be integrated — but what's stopping us is custom, and money/power relations it's entrenched in.

  27. As the son of an Argentine, this doesn't surprise me. The country and the afa are a corrupt joke. No wonder our woman's team can't compete on the world stage. Why would they care, when they're not even taken care of, let alone respected. That country needs a complete revolution on all levels. Te quiero Argentina! Pero sos una mierda.

  28. man, i hate those woman who want the same pay. but this, they're asking for just what they're worth, this woman is different, give her what she needs.

  29. So let me get this right.
    >know that this job doesn't get paid
    >work the job anyway
    >get fired from job
    >try to sue because you didn't get paid

  30. i always wondered what women were trying to do on a futbol pitch! i would have never guessed it was trying to play futbol!

  31. This is bullshit.
    The question should be: do women football generate revenue to have professional female player? Everyone knows the answer: OFFCOURSE NOT! Women football suck. Simple. You can still trying to feed us with sjw crap but we're not buying it.

  32. What a joke. If womens football was any good people would pay for it and the players would get more cash.

  33. The women's soccer team here in America makes a ton of money for the US Soccer Federation. The women are the main driver of revenue. The only reason for these federations and clubs to try to hold women's football back is sexism and being scared of having to share the sport with women. It's very sad. I am glad to see more women in South America standing up – if these women got the proper investment and resources, they'd be the ones winning a World Cup.

  34. The women's game is simply not viable, it's as simple as that. The playing standard is terrible. That said, they should at least cover their medical costs.


  36. Im sorry but there is no bias against women football. You cant force a club to pay you more just because you want to make a living out of football. There's a reason theyre not professional and it has nothing to do with sexism but rather money.If theres no interest in womens football then there is no money to be made off of ticket sales, sponsorships, jersey sales, tv rights etc, and consequently no high salary for the players.When was the last time you watched a female match that wasnt the world cup? Does anyone know the last female champions league winniner? Im sure more of you could name the reigning uefa youth league champions. So instead of crying and suing clubs players should maybe ask themselves why they arent good/entertaining enough for people to watch them play. p.s. Forcing a professional league would lead to something like the WNBA where theyve been losing $10million dollars a year for the past 10 years. Thats hardly something some amateur female clubs from south america could afford.

  37. It will be great if you can make a video about the financials aspects between the US men and women national teams, since the women national team is suing the US soccer federation because they are paid way less than the men team

  38. Argentina's "Primera C" (fourth division) exists as such since 1986, but wasn't made professional until 2014. The female football league was created in 1991. Macarena Sanchez's first appearance in the tournament was in 2012. After 7 years she's demanding to be given things that houndreds of footballers coudn't get in their entire carrers. Every football player whats to "live from football". Not just female players. Argentinian football is full of players who have to take one or two jobs because they can't "live from football" due to the fact that the clubs can put in enough money to fully support their players. I agree that, ideally, all footballers should be able to live from football, but the situation in Argentinian football is far from ideal.

  39. A lot of people claim that they treat womens football like that because it doesn't make any money. It's the other way round, how do you expect a league that has no investment in it, probably not the best coaches, not good equipment ,for sure not even a physical trainer… etc to be playing at the same level?
    I even see it here in Spain, the coaches a lot of times aren't even qualified and just do it to have fun because they are passionate about football or they are bad coaches that the mens team don't want. And if it is a good coach that has just started, when they can they leave to a men's team.
    First of all give everybody the same chances and then talk.

  40. This video is just virtue signalling of the highest order.

    Doesn't matter what sport it is, where there is a female alternative the men's competition always brings in more money.

    Men and stronger and faster than women, when people watch sports they want to see the best of the best.

    The only time women are better than men in sports is with long-distance swimming and shooting. If men in those sports were paid less I doubt you would hear any complaints.

  41. Great, awesome video. I truly appreciate the existence of tifo football, an YouTube channel that always brings important questions for us, fans, to discuss or reflect. Here in Brazil we have the same problem, and it's painful and sad to see the regular desinterest of associations into help to develop womens football profesionally. Anyway, thanks for the outstanding video tifo!

  42. @tifofootball por favor traduzcan al español, esta historia esta muy buena, merece ser compartida en español, gracias.

  43. This is kind of off the topic of the video but you mentioned the "perceived" lack of interest and how there isn't much coverage of Argentinian women's football. I think the lack of interest isn't due to the lack of coverage and more the other way round. International women's football gets a lot of coverage and not many people watching it. I think this is because it's simply not as good as the men's football. There is a very clear lack of skill in women's football and this is due to not enough girls getting into football when they're younger. Instead of encouraging more people to be interested in women's football just for the sake of equality we should be encouraging more young talent to raise the overall skill level to a point at which it is watchable.

  44. Really interesting! Also I like your deeper explanation of not only the basic stuff in football, like tactics, but also the deeper more political side of the game. Keep up the work

  45. As someone from the US where the women’s national team is miles better on the world stage than the men’s team yet is going through similarly arduous journeys of wanting equal pay as countries where that is not the case, it is nice to see someone standing up for what they believe in and fighting for not only their own rights, but to set a precedent for more people going forward. Excellent video

  46. Anything above a third tier in women’s football should pay professional wages that these women can live off no matter what country.

  47. I can see how one can make the argument that clubs should be 'duty bound' to subsidize their female teams; but to chalk off lack of interest and commercial unviability as 'trite arguments' is somewhat illogical. Then again, I think those who view said arguments as trite look upon the situation from the 'chicken or the egg' perspective. As they believe women football is not commercially viable because it is not widely advertised, and thus, for it to be viable, it has to be widely advertised.

    Personally and more so, from the point of view of someone who've paid to attend various women football matches, i think that is a losing argument. Women football is not viable because it simply is not a good enough product. That is the harsh naked truth. However, I can understand arguments and pressure on clubs who can afford it to support and help develop the women's game; as the level will increase over time with more support. That is unequivocally, a desirable goal to aspire to. With that said however, asking a third-tier club in Argentina to render their female affiliate viable economically is a bit much.

  48. Well not all jobs can be perfect. If the fun of football is not enough for you I guess it’s just not the profession for you

  49. Football is a free market, not a charity. If women pros can generate the same revenue as the men, then they can get paid the same as men.

    'Til then, jog on.

  50. This video should have reached many more people by now… its sad that this hasn't even reached 50k in 10 days.

  51. "people not caring about women's football is not because it's garbage and they're bad at it for biological reasons, it's an evil capitalist meninist conspiracy". Imagine taking this seriously. Imagine being so fucking whipped that you feel like you have to pretend to take this seriously.

  52. "we want to live from football"
    Yeah, so do I, problem is I suck at football and no one would pay to watch me play it. That means there is no money in Me Football.

  53. Women's football is brill to watch – here in Ireland I've been to see Women's Gaelic football, a whole other code to the association variety, but it lacks none of the power, passion and dedication of the men's game. And god help anyone who says it is rubbish and pointless, because Cora Staunton will be coming for you… 🙂

  54. Dude, I cam to this with my walls up. I have to say, I'm not sure if she will be ale to live-off playing football. But, teams have to make a bare minimum effort to advance the women's game. Maybe then, a lot of people will watch and care. In the US, college sports is the backbone of all sports. Scholarship is bestowed for it. The players are armatures but they get to play sports and earn a degree. A law called TITLE-9, requires schools which receive state funds to provide female students with equal opportunities to participate in educational programmes. That means,

    If any of these Argentinean male leagues and teams receive money from the state, then the female teams should get similar help.

  55. The fact they have to pay to play is just insane. I can't imagine playing at the highest level possible and not getting a salary let alone recognition.

  56. So they want the mens league to finance and subsidize the female's league since there is no way it will make it's own profit.

  57. Oh, come on, the most important information wasn't given: 1) ticket sales, 2) TV ratings, 3) revenue by the league and by the individual clubs. Years ago after the success of the 1999 World Cup, the United States had a league (WUSA) with games on ESPN in it and it folded within 3 years. And other less hyped leagues have folded, restructured, or downsized. If it hasn't work in the States, it's going to work in Argentina? I am sure this woman has been treated badly but your craft has to produce profit unless if you want the sport to be owned by The Ministry of Sports where loses are secondary to cultural value and I actually wouldn't be against it. But if you are not showing the important numbers then it must not make any money as a business. The WNBA is a loser, charity case for the NBA, year after year they are in the red and these women still complain about salary. Your product is not liked by the audience enough to make the investment necessary to make these leagues self sustaining. It's that simple.

  58. You should compare tactics of national teams. Like US Men and Women and/or England Men and Women. And why they’re different. Like the women play different cause it’s still evolving? Or do the women’s team do what works for the men’s team

  59. I'm Argentinian, and I just found this scrolling down Tifo's videos. AFA now approved the project to make women's football in Argentina professional (paid), and our national team almost made it into France's World Cup last 16. HUGE congratulations to these girls, I'm proud to be represented by them. Hope Macarena Sanchéz had her dreams come true. Gracias!!

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