FIFA has introduced new rules guaranteeing maternity leave and labor rights for players in the women’s game.
The rules were proposed last month and were approved by the FIFA Council on Friday.
Pregnant players now receive maternity leave that lasts 14 weeks and must be paid at least two-thirds of their salary by their clubs.
Clubs are required to reintegrate the player when they return, and to provide adequate medical support, although they may register a new player to cover the 14-week period.
In addition, clubs will not be able to terminate a player’s contract due to their pregnancy. Failure to comply with this rule will result in an order to pay compensation to the player as well as sporting penalties – and potentially a fine – issued to the offending club.
Speaking after the rules – which will be enforced around the world – were given the green light, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “If we are serious about strengthening women’s play, we need to look at all these aspects.
“Female players need to have stability in their careers, and if they are taking maternity leave, they do not have to worry about when they are ready to play again.”
Speaking earlier this month, Wales Women manager Jayne Ludlow said: “I think many would say it has probably been a long time coming.
“The game is evolving so fast right now, and this was obviously just another part that needed to be done, because if you are a professional woman, just like in any other lifestyle, if you are a professional in any other job, would expect these things.
“Fortunately for women who play in the game now and who want a family, it is fantastic for them.
“When you break it all down, these professional players need to be cared for in a professional way, so this for me is part of it.”