Updated on 01/18/2023 at 2:18 p.m.
- When Icelandic national player Sara Björg Gunnarsdottir unexpectedly becomes pregnant, joy wins out at first.
- And his club at the time, Olympique Lyonnais, assured him of his support.
- But then no payment is made and when she returns with her baby, she is quickly made to understand that she has no future in Lyon with a child.
- Now Gunnarsdottir has won an important victory in the Fifa court and is also telling his story publicly.
Just a few days ago, the media broke some good news: the German national player has extended her contract right after her baby break.
“Melly has been key to our successes in her first 18 months at the club. We are delighted to see her back in the blue dress and build on our successes in the years to come,” the Chelsea manager said. , Paul Green.
Leupolz’s baby was born in October, about three months later Leupolz started training as a team again. This is how it works.
Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir recounts her experiences
But there is another way, less pleasant. Former Wolfsburg player Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir wrote her pregnancy story on internet platform ‘The Players’ Tribune’ and her then club Olympique Lyon played a key role in it.
“I know this story might offend some powerful people in the world of football. This side of the game is not supposed to be discussed. But I have to tell the truth.” That’s how Gunnarsdottir enters his text and now it’s clear that Olympique Lyon probably won’t fare well in this story.
In her text, Gunnarsdottir writes that she got pregnant unplanned and was still happy. But of course, she was also nervous talking about the pregnancy to the club and her teammates. She somehow felt guilty, like she was letting people down.
At some point, however, the pregnancy could no longer be kept a secret, not least because she did not feel well for the first three months. The club eventually allowed her to spend her pregnancy with her family in Iceland.
Lyon no longer pay Gunnarsdottir
“But I wanted to come back to Lyon after giving birth. I said it very clearly,” continues Gunnarsdottir. “I thought being the first player to return to Lyon after pregnancy would be something we could all celebrate together.”
It is still rare for professional players to become pregnant during their career and return after giving birth. Made in Germany
So Gunnarsdottir flies pregnant to Iceland, where after a while there is a shock: Lyon does not continue to pay Gunnarsdottir. Without warning. It was only after repeated requests that Lyon returned and referred to the French legal situation.
Gunnarsdottir is appalled: “It’s not a situation you can count on, especially not at such a big club.” She turns against the union and Fifpro, an association which campaigns for the rights of footballers, and makes her adviser understand that she wants to go to Fifa if Lyon does not pay.
Maternity protection rules apply to FIFA
Since 2020, the rules for maternity leave for female players apply to FIFA worldwide. Professionals are therefore entitled to maternity leave of at least 14 weeks, during which they must receive at least two-thirds of the contractually agreed salary. Additionally, pregnant players should not be disadvantaged and should be reinstated in the game after the birth of the child. There is also dismissal protection for players.
However, according to Gunnarsdottir’s agent, Lyon’s answer is clear: “If Sara goes to Fifa with that, she has no future in Lyon.” On June 8, the players’ union contacted Lyon and informed the club that the new Fifa regulations applied to Gunnarsdottir’s case and therefore his full salary had to be paid. This is apparent from the Fifa documents on the case of Gunnarsdottir.
Lyon is silent. Gunnarsdottir did not hear from her club for the rest of her pregnancy. From people who seemed to have been happy with her about her pregnancy.
In January 2022, Gunnarsdottir returns to Lyon with his son Ragnar. Even then, more stones are placed in his path. At one point, Gunnarsdottir couldn’t take it anymore: “I was so exhausted from all this fighting. It was clear, no matter what was said, it was essentially true: as a new mother, I don’t had no future at this club.”
Gunnarsdottir is entitled to his salary
Meanwhile, the Fifa court ruled that Gunnarsdottir is entitled to his salary. Lyon must pay 82,000 euros to their former player.
This is an important decision as it clearly shows that players who become pregnant are protected. That they too have rights that clubs should not ignore. Gunnarsdottir writes: “This victory felt like a guarantee of financial security for all players who wish to have a child during their career. There is no more ‘maybe’ and no more uncertainty.”
Fifpro also specifies: “The unprecedented judgment in the Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir case against her former club Olympique Lyon sends a clear message to clubs and footballers around the world: the strict application of maternity leave can be applied .”
Gunnarsdottir now plays for Juventus Turin. She is very happy there, she says. Your son is almost a year old.
- ‘The Players’ Stand’: What Happened When I Got Pregnant
- Decision of the Dispute Resolution Chamger of May 19, 2022 regarding an employment-related dispute regarding player Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir
- “DW.com”: Maternity leave: Olympique Lyon must pay Gunnarsdottir’s salary
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