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Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir wins maternity rights claim against Lyon

FIFPRO is delighted that the Iceland captain has won her claim against Olympique Lyon over maternity rights.

Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir

Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir has won her maternity pay claim against Olympique Lyon after she was not paid her full salary during her pregnancy.

Sara Björk, who captained Iceland at the Women’s Euro in 2022, became pregnant in 2021 and gave birth in November of that year. However, she was paid only two months of her full salary by Lyon. In an article for The Players’ Tribune, Gunnarsdóttir said Vincent Ponsot, the club’s director, did not reply to her representatives until a formal complaint was made after she was not paid for two months.

Lyon agreed to reimburse Gunnarsdóttir for those missed months but refused to pay her any further wages, citing French law. When the matter was taken to FIFPRO, the global union for professional footballers, Gunnarsdóttir claimed she was told she would have no future at Lyon if it escalated further.

On Tuesday, FIFPRO confirmed Gunnarsdóttir, who now plays for Juventus, had won her case against her former club. Lyon must pay Gunnarsdottir €82,094.82 (approximately $88,565.00) plus 5% interest per annum as from 10 September, 2021, until the full payment is made.

“FIFPRO congratulates Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir on her successful claim against Olympique Lyonnais over the club’s failure to pay her full salary during pregnancy,” a FIFPRO statement read. “We are pleased to have assisted her in achieving the first ruling of its kind since FIFA’s maternity regulations came into force in January 2021. It is extremely important for women footballers and the women’s game that these mandatory maternity regulations are both implemented and enforced at national level.”