Colombian government criticizes suspension of contracts to soccer club players due to coronavirus


BOGOTÁ, Apr 7 (Reuters) – The vice president of Colombia on Tuesday described the decision of the independent club Santa Fe that suspended the employment contracts of the members of the women’s soccer team as discriminatory and arbitrary, although she kept the payment commitments to the players of the male professional roster.

The team nine times champion of the Colombian men’s league decided on Monday to suspend by mutual agreement the contracts of the members of the women’s team, who despite the decision will receive a subsidy to cover their basic needs while overcoming the current health emergency due to the coronavirus that forced to interrupt the local tournament.

However, the club announced that the players of the men’s team will be partially paid their wages while the health emergency lasts and their balances will be canceled once the situation normalizes.

“Unequal determinations have been made in relation to the employment relationship for male and female players, by maintaining and suspending them respectively, generating arbitrary and discriminatory treatment with the players,” said Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez in a letter to the club president, Luis Eduardo Méndez.

“Decisions like yours let us see the gap that exists within your institution regarding the work and professional performance of men and women,” added Ramírez, recalling that the current government has equity and the right to equality.

The sports director of the women’s team, Diego Perdomo, said that, although the contracts were suspended, he continues to work with the players.

“Las Leonas” were the first female professional soccer champions in Colombia in 2017.

Colombian soccer teams, as have other clubs worldwide, have reached agreements with their players to reduce or postpone the payment of wages for the suspension of the championships as a result of the expansion of the coronavirus.

(Report by Luis Jaime Acosta. Edited by Rodrigo Charme)