IN a column published Tuesday, Sara Gunnarsdottir, former player of Olympique Lyonnais (2020-2022), condemns the behavior of Lyon managers after the announcement of her pregnancy. The Icelander first points to delayed salary payment in the first two months after the start of her maternity leave, and then laments not having been paid from the third month.
“Vincent (Ponsot) apologized for the two months I was missing and said I will be paid. But in the third month he said something about them according to French law. Which meant they owed me nothing else. Dietmar (his agent) kept telling them: “Hey, there’s still no pay.” But we got no answer. The players’ union in France got involved, so Fifpro. Weeks turned into months. Still no full salary. The Olympics refused to give a clear answer to the criterion used. Finally, Dietmar told Vincent that Fifpro would fight this at FIFA level. Vincent then said: “If Sara goes to FIFA with this, she has no future at Lyon.” »
“It was the first time he (Aulas) had seen me since I came back with my baby. He didn’t even greet me.”
Sara Gunnarsdottir then notes the way the club has (poorly) received her child, Ragnar. “I have to be honest, part of me wanted to come into the club and tell everyone how angry I was for what they had done and left. But I told myself that I will go back and that I will do everything 110% I told myself: “I want to show them how fit I will be.” I was ready to play. But it didn’t work as I expected. The training was different when I came back. I was treated differently. »
In particular, the midfielder reveals that the Olympics were not really inclined to make the baby do professional tours with his mother and that he would give them two “test” tours. Solution that the stakeholder did not appreciate.
The new Juventus player also points to Jean-Michel Aula’s behavior towards his son. “The president also entered the room (during a meeting with Vincent Ponsot) while I was there. It was the first time he had seen me since I came back with my baby. He didn’t even greet me, look at me, or greet Ragnar. But Vincent had just five minutes earlier assured me of the matter that “it wasn’t personal”. However, after that moment, with the president, it was clear that this was the case. »
“As a young mother, I had no future with this club”
Gunnarsdottir finally explains how the Olympics separated her. “I Hi m (Vincent Ponsot) asked. what he had said to Dietmar, that if I went to FIFA, I would have no future in Lyon. He said he didn’t say that and it was the coach, Sonia Bompastor, who decided she couldn’t see me as a future player on her team. I was so exhausted from all these matches… It was clear that no matter what people said, the main thing was there: as a young mother, I had no future with this club. »
In May, Sara Gunnarsdottir received the decision from FIFPRO, which ordered the Olympics to pay all her wages.
The Olympics responded to the text published by its former player with a press release. The club claims to have that “Always been a trailblazer in women’s football, supporting athletes at all stages of their lives”. Lyon claims to have “Everything done to support Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir in her motherhood, as well as her return to the highest level” : “At her request, we agreed to allow her to take maternity leave in Iceland, her country of origin. When she returned to France, after the birth of her son, we did everything to promote her return to top level under conditions, that allowed her to live her new life as a mother to the best of her ability, as well as her return to the competition, especially thanks to an advanced accompaniment that we did at the time with Amel Majri. This subject is particularly close to our hearts and we are proud to have accompanied him in recent months throughout his pregnancy until he returned to the field against Soyaux, which also allowed him to travel with his daughter and nanny. »
Lyon believe the dispute with their player can be explained by legal differences between French law and FIFA rules: “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 had accepted. We are proud to have counted Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir in the squad for Olympique Lyonnais. Our paths parted for purely sporting reasons. If she wants to help us today to further develop French law, we will be pleased to involve her in our efforts together with Amel Majri to enable all athletes to fully experience their pregnancy, as well as their return to competition.”