Barcelona Femeni celebrate clinching the Treble after victory over Levante in the Copa de la Reina. Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images
The Spanish government has begun to pay off the “historic debt” the country’s sports council said it owes women’s football by declaring its top league professional.
Founded in 1988, La Liga Femenina, known as the Primera Iberdrola, is the top women’s football league in the country but did not have the distinction of being professional until now.
“Today is a historic day for us, for women and for all Spanish sport,” Spain’s Sports Council (CSD) said on Twitter.
“[CSD chief] Jose M Franco will preside the board that will declare professional the first division of women’s football. Let’s pay off a historic debt. It’s justice.”
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
The aim of the CSD is to have one of the best women’s leagues in Europe and to achieve that, it had to be made professional. Being considered a professional league allows the Liga Femenina to be independent, to get better resources and improve conditions, as its clubs will organise the league. In 2015, clubs united to create the Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs (ACFF) “to propel and professionalise women’s football” in Spain.
Since the signing of a first collective agreement in the history of Spanish women’s football in February 2020, the ACFF insisted the Liga Femenina already complied with the three criteria needed to be considered a professional competition by the Spanish government.
Barcelona became the first Spanish side to win the Women’s Champions League when they beat Chelsea 4-0 last month. The Catalan club also defended the Primera Iberdrola title in May, and a 4-2 victory over Levante in May clinched a historic Treble.
There are 18 teams that compete in the top women’s league, and there are two rounds of fixtures remaining this season.