When we talk about women’s football, Olympique Lyonnais is immediately mentioned as a world reference. With their 15 French Championship titles and their 8 Champions Leagues, Fenottes are simply the most successful team in the history of the French Championship and on the continental stage. However, it seems that all is not so rosy behind the scenes. Yesterday, Icelandic player Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir really caught the attention of the media by dropping a bombshell. In an interview given to The player stand, the midfielder returned to one of the essential topics in women’s football: the management of players who have become pregnant. In other words: the Icelander is accusing the Olympics of not paying her full salary during her pregnancy in 2021.
“I know this story may upset some influential people in the world of football, but I have to tell the truth. I want to make sure that nobody ever has to go through what I went through again. And I want to Lyons know it’s not okay. » Thus, the Rhone management would have paid him only €27,000 out of the €109,000 owed. Since then, FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber ruled on the case in May 2022, and the Olympics were ordered to pay around €82,000 to the player, plus interest. But for him, who is developing at Juventus today, the way of doing things from the Lyon management, and in particular from Vincent Ponsot, does not pass. “ From the first month I did not get my salary. All that was paid out was a small percentage of Social Security. Then I didn’t get paid for the next two months. I called Dietmar, my agent, and he wrote to Vincent (Ponsot), the club’s manager. There was no answer. When Vincent Ponsot finally responded, he apologized for two of the months I missed. And told me I would be paid for these. But in the third month he spoke of French law. Which meant they owed me nothing else. (…) When I first told the club about my pregnancy, they seemed very happy for me and told me they would do everything to support me, and I believed them. But now I wasn’t so sure.”, she said. But that’s not all.
The Olympics responded
Gunnarsdottir also added that her bosses advise against taking her baby to her team’s away games. The reason ? It could “disturbing other players on the bus or on the plane if he cried the whole way”. Finally, she claims that during a meeting with Ponsot, Jean-Michel Aulas broke in but did not greet the player. “The president also entered the room 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 on the matter that “it wasn’t personal”. However, after that moment, with the president, it was clear that this was the case. » Strong testimonies that prompted the Olympics to respond via a press release sent to the media.
“Olympique Lyonnais has always been a forerunner when it comes to women’s football and supporting athletes at all stages of their lives. We have always respected French legislation, which we have sometimes found too restrictive on these subjects. Thus, we have always fought for increased protection of players on these points. We have done everything we can 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 the highest level in conditions that would allow her to best live her new life as mother, as well as her return to the competition, especially thanks to extensive support, which we did next with Amel Majri. This topic is particularly close to our hearts and we are proud to have followed him in recent months throughout his pregnancy until he returned to the pitch against Soyaux, which also allowed him to travel with his daughter and nanny. In recent months, FIFA has chosen for the first time to lay down a legal framework for players who have to experience maternity during their career, which we are happy about, notes the club. FIFA is now criticizing us for not offering another job to Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir during her sick leave and then her maternity, 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 included Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir in the squad for Olympique Lyonnais. Our paths parted for purely sporting reasons. » It is said.