FIFA Regulations Amended: Measures to Safeguard Female Players and Coaches

FIFA has announced significant measures aimed at enhancing the welfare of female players and coaches, reinforcing their commitment to inclusivity and support for women in football. These amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, which came into effect on June 1, were approved by the FIFA Council following extensive consultations with stakeholders.

Among the fundamental changes are provisions to extend rights and protections to adoptive parents and non-biological mothers. Female players or coaches adopting children under the age of two are entitled to a minimum of eight weeks of paid adoption leave. This period reduces to four weeks if the adopted child is between two and four years old, and to two weeks if the child is older than four. Adoption leave must commence within six months of formal adoption and cannot be combined with family leave for the same child. Similarly, female players or coaches who are not biological mothers are granted a minimum of eight weeks of paid family leave following the birth of a child. This leave must be taken within six months of the child’s birth and cannot be accumulated with adoption leave for the same child.

Recognising the multifaceted challenges faced by women in football, FIFA will now consider factors such as severe menstruation and medical complications related to pregnancy that may affect a player’s ability to provide employment services.

Clubs must accommodate female players’ menstrual cycle and health needs. Upon providing a valid medical certificate from a gynaecologist or specialist, a player can be absent from training or matches as required by her menstrual health. She retains total remuneration during these absences.

A pregnant player, adoptive parent, or player taking family leave can independently decide when to begin their leave and must be reintegrated into football activities after completing it. Clubs cannot force players to take leave at specific times and must provide ongoing medical support and total remuneration upon their return.

In summary, FIFA’s latest initiatives represent a pivotal moment in advancing gender equality and player welfare in football, reflecting a comprehensive approach to supporting women athletes throughout their careers and personal lives.