Spain women’s soccer’s referee strike comes to an end

Caroline Graham Hansen FC Barcelona challenges for the ball against Pisco of UD Granadilla Tenerife during the La Liga F between FC Barcelona and UD Granadilla Tenerife at Estadi Johan Cruyff on September 17, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

The Women’s First Division in Spain will kick off this weekend after a deal was reached to end the league’s referee strike.

The start of the regular season was postponed a week as referees demanded improved “employment and economic conditions.”

After months of back and forth, the Spanish FA announced an agreement Thursday that will make the women’s league referees professional. The move comes as the Spanish women’s soccer league embarks on its first fully professionalized season.

“It is a fantastic agreement for our referees that comes through the effort of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the CSD,” said Yolanda Parga, the head of women’s referees in Spain.

The parties inked a six-year deal, with Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD) agreeing to contribute to the referees’ pensions for the first three years and the Professional Women’s Football League (LPFF) for the remaining three years.

Reigning champions Barcelona defeated Tenerife 2-0 Saturday in the club’s first match under the league’s new agreement.