Icelandic soccer player Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir has revealed that her former club OL did not pay her in full during her pregnancy in 2021. Women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe responded to these allegations. And she does not spare her former club.
Megan Rapinoe, always very committed to issues related to women’s rights, was quick to respond. As Iceland’s Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir accused Olympique Lyonnais, her former club, of cutting her wages when she was pregnant, the American star responded on her Twitter account overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday.
“It is completely shameful on the part of Olympique Lyonnais, lamented the double world champion (2015 and 2019), who was adopted by the Rhone club in 2013-2014. You all like to say how much you support the women, but the math is wrong. I implore you to be the club that ALWAYS supports women, not the club that once did.”
“I know this story will probably annoy some influential people in the world of football, but I have to tell the truth, Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, Olympic player between 2020 and 2022, testified in a column published on Tuesday on the website The player stand. I want to make sure no one ever has to go through what I went through again. And I want Lyon to know that it’s not okay.”
The Dispute Resolution Chamber of the FIFA Court ruled on this case in May 2022. It decided that Olympique Lyonnais should pay around 82,000 euros plus interest to the midfielder. The core of the dispute concerns Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir’s lack of professional activity between the start of her layoff in connection with her pregnancy (end of March) and the start of her maternity leave (end of September). FIFA rules stipulate that players must be paid in full between the announcement of the pregnancy and the start of maternity leave for a minimum of 14 weeks. He specifies that a footballer who is no longer playing “has the right” to pursue another activity at his club.
The Olympics believes it was within its rights
However, because Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir has not exercised any professional activity and she obtained permission to return to Iceland before her maternity leave, Olympique Lyonnais considered it within its right to adjust the remuneration as in a classic case of prolonged work stoppage. Thus, only 27,000 euros were paid out of the 109,000 guilty parties. Only the complainant assured that she had not received any proposal, that she had not refused any temporary retraining and that she even ended up offering to do communication on social networks for the club.
“FIFA is now criticizing us for not offering another job to Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir during her sick leave and then her maternity leave, while at the same time the law prohibits us from doing so in France and the player had expressly asked us to be able to return to live in Iceland, which we accepted”, responded Olympique Lyonnais in a press release on Tuesday.
“We are proud to have counted Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir in the workforce at Olympique Lyonnais. Our paths parted for purely sporting reasons. If she wants to help us today to further develop French legislation, we would be happy to involve her in our efforts together with Amel Majri to allow all athletes to fully experience their pregnancy as well as their return to competition,” adds the club, which has just registered Amel Majri’s return to competitionwho last July became the first active French national team player to have a child.