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Yasmin Mrabet: “What comes first, the investment or the show? As a player I believe that to perform at 100% and put on a good show you need to have minimum resources.”

24 Jul 2023   ·   

The World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is proving to be a public and visibility success thanks to the struggle of young players like Yasmin Mrabet, determined to make the most of every experience in professional soccer so that the legacy of her generation and those that have gone before will live on in the race for the development of women’s soccer.

We have quickly become accustomed to women filling stadiums, occupying advertising banners and having labor rights worthy of a professional sport. But it’s all very new and the stability of this development is yet to be won. In order for the incipient professionalization of women’s soccer, which is currently experiencing one of its greatest moments with a massive World Cup in Australia in New Zealand, to become a reality, more female captains are needed on and off the field, like the Spanish-Moroccan Yasmin Mrabet (Madrid 1999). 

She talks to us from her hotel in Melbourne, a couple of days before Morocco’s tough opener against two-time world champions Germany. Mrabet is a young woman of just 24 who already knows what it means to fight for the rights of women soccer workers. She took part in the tough negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement for women’s professional soccer in Spain and as an international for Morocco (her father’s native country) is working on the creation of a plan to develop soccer in the Maghreb country. To prepare for this leadership she is enrolled in the Global Master in Sports Management and Legal Skills with F.C. Barcelona https://isde.es/curso/global-master-in-sports-management-and-legal-skills-with-fc-barcelona/

How do you manage your training with the sport activity? How do you currently have your master’s degree?

Since I was very young I have been taught that studies came first if I wanted to train, play, etc. As I grew up I already had in my head the importance of studies. Growing up I saw that I could not live from soccer, I lived it quite far away but when I started to see it closely and saw those players who earned more money, I was very clear that I had to finish my studies and I demanded myself to excel in soccer and studies to have that cushion that allows me to devote myself to what I want. I am lucky that I like to study, I am passionate about soccer but also dedicate myself with passion to soccer on the field and off the field in a management role or something that has to do with women’s soccer or sport.

You studied marketing, then you tried your hand at data analytics, even doing predictive work on which team was going to win the World Cup, and now you are very involved with legal support for players. Was it the experience and the needs you have been seeing in professional soccer that led you to study this training?

Exactly, I chose Marketing because it caught my attention at that time in my career. Then I had friends who had studied data science and it seemed to me that it had many opportunities and then the sports management and legal skills with Barça and ISDE I really wanted to do it because I was focused on soccer. Collective bargaining agreements is what I focus on the most and what I have taken everything I have learned in the master’s degree. My TFM, for example, is about how collective bargaining agreements work in women’s soccer and how to implement it in the Moroccan national team, which is something I have been able to discuss with the federation. I have gradually introduced them to it, how it works and why it is interesting for them and for us. The introduction is done and that’s what I like.

Your own biography is very peculiar with an English mother, Moroccan father and residence in Spain where you were born and have also grown up as a soccer player. What conclusions do you draw from this experience in three countries and three different soccer games in terms of female development?

I am fortunate to have three nationalities and see the culture in England and Morocco very closely and that gives me an advantage to know the conditions in each country. The minimum conditions in a professional league should be very similar in any country although there are differences in the leagues and countries themselves. For example, in Morocco we do get paid because for the last three years they have been implementing a program to develop women’s soccer and we are seeing the results very clearly. We have fixed daily allowances and we have negotiated match bonuses, but the objective is to sign a collective agreement that stabilizes women’s soccer and is sustainable. We want it to be a plan with clear stages to see where we want to go for us and the lower categories.

When the collective bargaining agreement was negotiated in Spain, the weakness of some clubs’ budgets and the great inequality with respect to other teams came to light. How can we solve this and make progress in obtaining resources in women’s soccer?

I was in the negotiations for the first agreement in the Iberdrola League. It took a long time and we had to go on strike to sign a minimum wage. The question is what comes first: the investment or the level/show? As a player I believe that to exercise my profession at 100% and meet the professional level that is required of me to give that show I also need minimum resources. This can only be achieved with a minimum salary that is acceptable to the needs. Right now it is 1,200 euros for the partial. To that you have to take away that you live alone, a rent, take care of the food… some clubs do not pay the medical insurance or the physiotherapist. These are necessary expenses to be self-demanding, to perform and give that show that generates audiences and money, which is what we all want. That is why the debate is the level of investment over time to be sustainable and generate them on its own without government help. For me, investment is needed first How much? I don’t know, but it takes time. There has been serious talk about women’s soccer for 5-10 years and the game is developing at speed. And the proof that investment is a good benchmark is England, where you can see that investment has made it possible for them to generate resources thanks to these tools.

Regarding your experience in Morocco, how does the role of the women’s national team influence women’s development?

In the end, it’s all about opportunities. After the Africa Cup experience with a good result [Mrabet scored the historic goal that qualified Morocco for the World Cup], doors opened for girls and women to play sports and be heard doing what they want to do. It has opened the minds of many people, opening the clubs in Morocco to women as well. The most important thing is that it has generated a lot of visibility for girls and boys and Moroccan society in general sees us as women as role models.

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