Iceland’s Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir has won her claim against former club Olympique Lyonnais after she was not paid her full salary during her pregnancy, players union FIFPRO said.
The 32-year-old turned to FIFPRO to lodge her complaint with FIFA, and the global soccer’s governing body ruled in August last year that the club must pay the full amount owed to Bjork within 45 days of notification of the decision.
FIFPRO described the ruling in a statement as the first of its kind since FIFA’s maternity regulations came into force in January 2021.
“I was entitled to my full salary… These are part of my rights, and this cannot be disputed, not even by a club as big as Lyon,” Gunnarsdottir, who fell pregnant in early 2021, wrote on The Players’ Tribune website.
“This is not “just a business”. This is about my rights as a worker, as a woman and as a human being,” the midfielder added.
Bjork, a two-time Champions League-winning midfielder, signed for Juventus following her departure from Lyon after playing at Euro 2022 with Iceland.
“They did not expect something like this, especially from a club as big as Lyon,” senior Legal Counsel at FIFPRO Alexandra Gomez Bruinewoud, who worked on the case and was actively involved in defining FIFA’s maternity regulations, told Reuters.
“We did not expect such a case when we pushed for these regulations, but we knew there would come a time when these protections would be used…
“The relevance is that now players will not have to choose between playing and being a mother, they will be able to combine it, it wouldn’t be easy of course, but at least they have the legal basis where they have some protections.”
OL winger Majri, 29, became the first active French international to have a child in July 2022.