Colombian women win battle to keep pro league financed

By Samindra Kunti

March 13 – Colombian women’s football players have won a first battle in their fight for an equal playing field by saving the pro league which the Colombia Football Federation (FCF)wanted to disband. 

In recent weeks Colombia’s women’s players have rebelled against years of mistreatment, taking the fight directly to the FCF. At U-17 level former coach Didier Luna and other staff members have been accused of sexual abuse. Last Thursday members of the senior national team and Acolfutpro, the Colombian arm of FIFpro, staged a press conference to voice their grievances as they contested years of neglect and abuse by the FCF.

The FCF intended to disband Colombia’s professional women’s league, alleging that the league, launched in 2017, was not sustainable, but at a meeting on Tuesday in Bogota, Dimayor, the governing body for Colombia’s professional football, appointed a commission to organise a third edition of Colombia’s women’s league from next August.

Atlético Huila (pictured), the current national champion and the Copa Libertadores champions, Independiente Santa Fe, America of Cali, Cortuluá, the players and Coldeportes will all have a seat in the commission.

“We have collected the proposals made to us by the Minister of Labor [Alicia Arango] and the director of Coldeportes [Ernesto Lucena] in the sense of creating a commission that will immediately begin to study and develop the professional league from next semester,” said Dimayor president Jorge Enrique Velez.

At the start of the meeting, Colombia national team player Isabella Echeverri was received by the directors. She demanded the professional league be maintained, but conceded that it would be enough that the championship run with just 8-12 clubs. She also asked for a salary improvement for the players.

Velez also confirmed that Colombia will make an official request to the South American Football Confederation Conmebol to host the women’s Copa Libertadores later this year.

At U-17 level Luna and the team’s physiotherapist will be investigated for sexual abuse of under-aged players after the public prosecutor was presented with evidence. The former coach has pleaded innocent, but could face up to 4.5 years in jail.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601003125labto1601003125ofdlr1601003125owedi1601003125sni@o1601003125fni1601003125