female football player getting ready to take FIFA's maternity leaveWhen you’re adding to your family, job security is the last thing you want to worry about. Female football players once faced pregnancy and childbirth with few formal protections, but FIFA rules introduced in January 2021 provide global minimum standards for maternity leave.

Below, our experienced FIFA dispute lawyers dive into what this means for future mothers-to-be.

Understanding Maternity Leave for Female Football Players

Key components of the amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) affecting the right to maternity leave for female athletes include:

  • Players are entitled to a minimum of 14 weeks of parental leave, with at least eight weeks after the player gives birth
  • Leave must be paid at a minimum of two-thirds of the player’s salary unless more beneficial conditions apply under national law or a collective bargaining agreement
  • When players return to work, clubs must provide adequate medical and physical support—including opportunities for breastfeeding or pumping
  • Clubs must not discriminate against players for becoming pregnant or giving birth

Since a player’s maternity leave could place a team at a competitive disadvantage, FIFA will allow clubs to register a player outside of a transfer window as a temporary maternity leave replacement.

If a club ends a player’s contract because she became pregnant, the club will be banned from the transfer market for one year and have to pay a fine to FIFA.

Female football players who believe they have been treated unfairly due to pregnancy or childbirth can take their case to the FIFA DRC (Dispute Resolution Chamber). When internal FIFA legal remedies have been exhausted, you have the right to take your case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Do You Need to Speak With an Experienced FIFA Dispute Lawyers?

When your ability to continue playing the sport you love is at risk, Global Sports Advocates is here to help. FIFA dispute lawyers Paul Greene and Matthew Kaiser are leaders in the field of sports law and advocate for the rights of athletes in a wide range of FIFA disputes. Contact us online or call us directly at +1-207-747-5899 to schedule an initial one-hour consultation.