Danish women’s pay strike forces cancellation of World Cup qualifier

October 19 – Denmark risk being thrown out of the women’s World Cup after refusing to play Sweden in a qualifier on Friday because of a festering pay dispute with the Danish Football Association (DBU).

The Danish players, beaten finalists in the recent European Championships, have been locked in negotiations for months with talks breaking down several times. The FA now faces fines, points deductions and possibly expulsion from the competition.

“The DBU has today told the Swedish FA that the players of the women’s national team have not gathered in order to play the game, which will now not be played,” a statement read.

Denmark have so far played only one match of their 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign, a 6-1 win over Hungary last month. But the team remains on strike after the DBU rejected two proposals from the women over employment conditions, including having parity with the men.

The Euro 2017 runners-up, who cancelled a friendly against the Netherlands last month, have another World Cup qualifier scheduled for next Tuesday against Croatia.

“It is a historically bad day for the women’s team and for Danish football overall,” said DBU senior vice-president, Kim Hallberg. “It is regrettable but also grotesque that we are in a situation where players will not meet up for major international matches, even though we have offered better terms and invited them to new negotiations after the matches.”

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