After strong protests, a new possibility was opened. There would be resources, but no willing teams.

After strong protests, a new possibility was opened. There would be resources, but no willing teams.

Just over a month had passed when, amid the flags and gunpowder of the final between América and Deportivo Cali, the president of the Dimayor, Fernando Jaramillo, and the Sports Minister, Guillermo Herrera, announced that there would be a new edition of the Women's League in the second half of the year.

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Now, 35 days after that announcement, and at press time, the championship lives key hours to save himself, after the assembly of the professional teams decided not to play and threw the ball to the Colombian Football Federation (FCF).

Herrera, Jaramillo and Ramón Jesurún, the president of the FCF, had an informal meeting on Friday in the main box of the Pascual Guerrero stadium –in the Copa América match that Colombia beat Paraguay 4-2–, in the middle of a hostile environment, especially against Jesurún, who did not participate in the decision not to play the League.

The matter was so annoying that he had to leave the stage before finishing the match. While the public in the western stand chanted: “we want a league, we want a league”, Herrera and Jesurún spoke to Jaramillo. The first confirmed that the 1,200 million pesos announced on June 5 were still available. And the second told him that the Federation was also willing to contribute.

In the middle of the game, while Jesurún went out to the corridor to smoke a cigarette, he ran into Francisco Henao, a journalist from 'El Country', from Cali. And when asked about the issue, the manager was emphatic: “There's going to be a league. You can say it and you can quote me. The Federation is putting up the money, the Ministry too. What is the problem?”assured the communicator. Minister Herrera, who had been very “disappointed and annoyed” by the decision not to make the League, confirmed to EL TIEMPO that the support is maintained.

“We have been decisively supporting the Women's League. In the first semester, 3,000 million pesos were contributed from the ministry for a tournament of 17 teams, 150 games, and in the second half we were also going to support a much shorter tournament, so as not to interfere with the teams that go to the Copa Libertadores ” Herrera declared to EL TIEMPO. “As long as I am the minister, the money is there”, he added.

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What was the problem?

After strong protests, a new possibility was opened. There would be resources, but no willing teams.

Jaramillo was convinced that the League was going to be played, but in the long run, he passed the ball to the clubs, because he assured that the resources were there.

“The League was going to be much shorter, from August to October. That League cost 1,600 million pesos. The problem is not the resources to do it, I had the resources of the ministry and a sponsor, the problem is the clubs paying salaries that they did not have”
Jaramillo explained to EL TIEMPO.

The leader added that the organization of the League in the first semester cost 4,000 million pesos, and that to extend it in the all-against-all format, as is intended by 2023, between 8 and 9 billion would be needed.

“There were seven teams that had confirmed, then two dropped, five remained. To make a League with five is very little. They had the intention of participating Nacional, América, Cali, Millonarios, Llaneros, Cortuluá, Bucaramanga and Pereira. Of those, Nacional was not decided and Bucaramanga and Llaneros dropped out”, he added.

After his meeting in the Pascual Guerrero authorities' box with Jesurún and Minister Herrera, Jaramillo reported: “If eight clubs request to play, and so far I don't have that letter, I can make a League starting in August, from the point of administrative view there would be no problem. But I need the clear and express will of the clubs”, he told EL TIEMPO on Friday at 10:34 at night.

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A leader of one of the clubs that were firm with the League told this newspaper that they were, between Friday night and Saturday morning, trying to convince the three undecided clubs and save the League with eight teams.

The maximum owner of América, Tulio Gómez, put a trill in which he confirmed that América, Cali, Millonarios and Cortuluá are the teams that are firm.

The theme also has the background of the political struggle in Dimayor. A group of teams opposing Jaramillo found fertile ground to stay against. “Out of respect for women soccer players, serious and important tournaments must be organized. Santa Fe made contracts for six months with the option of extending them to eight, but going out and making a contract for a month and a half is disrespectful. Inventing a tournament that was not budgeted by the clubs and thus is not serious. And you can't call a hexagonal or octagonal Liga for getting out of the way”, declared Eduardo Méndez, president of Santa Fe.

Another of the opponents, Carlos Mario Zuluaga, from La Equidad, also referred to the issue on his Twitter account: “Equidad ratifies our (sic) commitment to the women's league. We have participated in the six scheduled leagues. We cannot endorse Dimayor's improvisation in scheduling a new league with no teams and no budgets. Women deserve respect”, he wrote.

The Colombian Association of Professional Soccer Players (Acolfutpro) shares the idea of ​​the lack of organization. “From the excitement of the tournament, the possibility of a tournament in the second semester was made public, but without it being planned. That affects the clubs that are making their investment. Although the salaries are not significant amounts, since about 70 percent are minimum wages, they still require financing from the clubs,” said the executive director of Acolfutpro, Carlos González Puche.
< br>The Women's League seemed to be saved this Saturday with an express tournament of eight teams, in the midst of the dense political environment in Dimayor.

Fists up: Women's team asks for more prizes

After strong protests, a new possibility was opened. There would be resources, but no willing teams.

Fists up and all together.This is how the players of the Colombian Women's National Team expressed themselves, first on social networks and then during the national anthem, before the debut in the Copa América, last Friday, with a 4-2 victory over Paraguay.
In a statement that was published on the Instagram accounts of those summoned, the players expressed their disagreement. “Today we unite for change. Although we lack guarantees, we have plenty of love for this shirt, that's why we unite with the illusion of teamwork, fairness in working conditions and competition, concerted decisions and a bright future for all of us who are part del FutFem”, wrote the members of the National Team, with the hashtag #Unsolosentir.

Although at first it was thought that the demonstration was motivated exclusively by the cancellation of the Women's League tournament for this second semester, which coincided with the start of the continental tournament, the players' claim has to do with the prizes they ask for from the Colombian Football Federation for their achievements in the tournament.

According to what EL TIEMPO learned, the prize between the Federation and the players, in case of being champions, is close to 4,000 million pesos. Thus, each footballer would receive around 120 million. In the event that the National Team is second, the prize will be close to 3,000 million pesos (each footballer would receive about 80 million pesos). If the team finishes third, the general amount would be close to 2,000 million, with an individual prize close to 60 million pesos.

Unofficially, EL TIEMPO was informed that the request made by the players of being champions is 1.5 million dollars (about 6,600 million pesos, today's volatile dollar), the prize that Conmebol gives to the champion Federation. He will give half a million dollars to the runner-up.

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