The Professional Players Federation (PPF) has today published a ‘Motherhood & Elite Sport’ policy paper outlining some key recommendations and minimum standards expected for female athletes in the areas of motherhood, pregnancy and parental leave.
The paper was produced in consultation with national and international sports associations drawing upon best practice at home and abroad. It complements the wider work that has been done in women’s sport by player associations to ensure equality between the men and women’s sport and to create a gold standard policy that is fit for today’s female athletes.
Some of the key policy areas featured in the guidance include job protection, maternity pay, support for new parents and return to play support.
The Professional Footballers’ Association is one of the associations which has secured enhanced contracts relating to maternity provision and Family Leave Policy which provides players with additional protection if they have children during their careers.
Marie-Christine Bouchier, Director of Women’s Football at the PFA said:
“A professional footballer should not have to choose between their career or becoming a parent. We want to normalise the option of both. This requires sport to go way over and above the minimum standards required by law to ensure that an adequate support system is in place.”
PPF Chairman Brendon Batson OBE said:
“There is an urgent need for medical research on the safety issues for both mothers and unborn children around the impact of playing professional sport during pregnancy. We have been in contact with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists about how we can support this research.”
Liz Bloor, Chief Executive of the Netball Players Association said:
“Sport needs to ensure that it is possible for women to combine having children with a career as a professional athlete. There are some excellent role models that show this can be done and the UK needs be aiming for international best practice if we are to be a force in women’s sport.”
The policy can be downloaded here.