Referees in the Primera Division – the top flight of Spanish women’s football – have announced their intention to strike on the eve of the new season in protest over their current working conditions.

The Primera Division kicks off this weekend, with all teams in action across Saturday and Sunday. League champions Barcelona get their campaign underway on Sunday with a trip to Levante Las Planas.

The 2022/23 season ushers in a new era of professionalism in domestic women’s football in Spain. Having previously been under the jurisdiction of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), the new Primera Division season sees the top flight organised by the Professional Women’s Football League (LPFF) for the very first time and obtain full professional status.

The newly branded ‘Liga F’ has also seen its broadcasting rights acquired by DAZN as part of a five-year deal.

However, the LPFF and RFEF have been engaged in a number of disputes prior to the league kicking off, and in a statement published by the RFEF, the referees of the Spanish top flight outlined their concerns over their working conditions in comparison to those refereeing in the men’s game.

“The referees and assistant referees of the Women’s First Division wish to communicate our unanimous decision not to referee any match of the First Division National Championship in the current conditions of uncertainty of our employment and economic situation,” the statement read.

“In the context of a new professional competition, we believe that women’s arbitration must have minimum conditions for the exercise of our activity within the professional competition. It is not conceivable that the refereeing establishment is the only one that remains on the sidelines of a growth that we consider to be just as necessary.

“As referees, we want to provide the best possible service to football and this necessarily involves having minimum working conditions similar to those of the refereeing establishment in the professional men’s competition, which implies being able to have comparable working conditions that allow us to dedicate the necessary time that is essential to be in a professional competition. We are looking forward to stepping on the pitch again, but with the right conditions.”

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