“We do not have any peace of mind messages because we are always waiting for what will be the next trip or barrier”, affirms Beatriz Álvarez Mesa in his attention AS from the headquarters of the League F located in Madrid. The president of the employer was very critical of the resolution of the CSD in which it establishes the regulatory framework of the maximum competition women in the absence of a coordination agreement with the RFEF. Arbitration expenses, the increase in the price of licenses or 20% of commercial income that must be given to the entity chaired by Luis Rubiales for the development of women’s grassroots football are some of the issues that have caused discomfort in the Women’s Professional League . However, in his historic first season there have been many more issues that have shaken him…
—Has Liga F’s relationship with Finetwork ended yet?
“It is in the hands of our legal services. We are trying to talk, to see if there is an agreement and if there is not, then logically we will carry out the corresponding legal actions. We are very calm, there is a binding agreement signed for three seasons and they have been an active part of it for a whole year, that is, a sponsor who does not have something signed does not spend a year working with their digital teams, marketing, on their social networks, doing interviews or round tables with me… Throughout this year we were together hand in hand. What they say now does not hold up. They have changed course, we know that they have also had many changes internally, even in people, and that means they have made decisions that are difficult to understand, but that logically will have their consequences.
“Are they going to pay you?”
We are going to claim what belongs to us.
—How did you find out about your slowdown in sponsorship?
—When the season ended and we demanded the sponsorship payment, which they had not yet made, it was when they told us no and they began to change the whole situation and it was made public quickly, in a matter of days.
—With DAZN are the relationships and their data going well?
“Right now we are collecting quite a lot of data. In addition, the distribution of television is also based on this data that we will try to transfer to public opinion so that they can see how it has gone. In the same way that I tell you that we have greatly increased the number of followers in the broadcast, before there was not directly, it is also true that there are still many differences between certain clubs. And we are also aware of all the room for improvement that we have in the audiovisual product: fields, infrastructures, natural grass, U-Televisiva… It is clear that we want to improve in all of this.
—And we still need to talk about the agreement, what puts the start of the next League F more in danger, the resolution of the CSD or that there is still no agreement here?
—I would say that this suffocation that we are suffering because it is completely related. It is evident that the market itself is advancing and the average salary of the players is increasing, which right now is 30,000 or 40,000 euros, but negotiating a minimum salary is another matter. Who are you directing it to, too, that many of those players are homegrown players that you try to promote in the first team and not bring in a player from outside. The will of the clubs would be to pay, not 50,000, but 100,000 euros. But here some income is generated and this has to be in accordance with reality. If, in addition to not generating enough income to be able to raise that minimum wage, on top of that we suffer harassment and demolition by third parties, this can hardly happen. We told the unions that we were not in a position to talk about economic terms, that we could now talk about other concepts.
—How was the last meeting with the unions?
—We only talked about this resolution, they put their hands to their heads… We told them that we didn’t know if they were going to propose a strike by the players, but it is probably that there is a strike by the clubs. Maybe we all have to go together, maybe it’s time to unite. The players are not in front, they are in the clubs and they are their important part. They have to understand the unsustainability of competition. I think there are many players, those who have been permanently in LaLiga clubs, who are not aware of the indebtedness that these clubs have towards their women’s section and that this, from a business point of view, exhausts them.
—When do you expect it to be sustainable?
—Women’s football did not generate anything. In one year we have managed to generate 77 million euros for the next five years. That is the value that the market has now placed on the product we have. What we have to deal with is that everything we are generating now in terms of income is also turned into that product growth for the future.
—Alhama case, how have you lived as president having an alleged case of workplace harassment in your league? Do you understand that she missed her public positioning?
—I have experienced it with a lot of concern, a lot, professionally and personally, as a woman, too. Any situation in which there is talk of harassment, work, sexual or of any other type, is an important alarm for us. From the beginning we have been involved and implicated in the situation internally and indeed not publicly. That we have not spoken does not mean that we have not done, that we have not activated the protocol, that we have not been on top of the club, that there has not been a whole investigation process… Personally and legally we have done everything that was in our hands. But it is true that you have to be very careful when you come out on behalf of an institution, let Beatriz come out, to say what she thinks of her. We will report any issue in which there may be harassment, of any kind. But there has to be a firm sentence to be able to say “we punish this and we are going to take these measures.” But if that doesn’t happen, talking seems to me rash and lacking in respect and sensitivity.
—As of today, do you think the protocol has failed?
—To this day I think that we have all realized, and I spoke with Amanda Gutiérrez (FutPro), it is that perhaps improvements must be made in the protocol of the new agreement that is negotiated. It is the first time that a situation has occurred and then it catches us… We have made a fairly extensive harassment protocol, but we have detected failures. It is not to get something positive out of something that has nothing positive, but if there is, it is to be able to learn from what has failed and what we think we can improve.
—What do you expect from the Spanish National Team in the World Cup?
—What all Spaniards expect, that they return to Spain with the cup as world champions. It would be wonderful and a total pride for Liga F.
—If the genie from the lamp came and granted you one wish for the 2023-24 F League, what would it be?
“I’m going to be respectful. Respect and autonomy.