A Saudi women's soccer team practices in secret, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s Football Association has taken a historic step to amend its regulations related to woman footballers, suggesting that a Saudi women’s football league and women’s teams will be created soon, local media reported.

The new regulations protect the rights of female professional footballers who want to have children during their playing careers.

They include conditions agreed on by FIFA, FIFPRO and other stakeholders. They stipulate among others:

The woman players will be equally treated with men, but the women are entitled to a maternity leave during the term of the contract, with at least two-thirds of the contracted salary unless the local rules or collective agreements provide for more favourable terms.

The validity of the contract may not be hinged on a condition that the female player is not pregnant or will not get pregnant during its term.

A contract may not be suspended during the maternity leave, or depriving a woman of rights related to maternity in general.

It was not immediately known how long will a minimum maternity leave will be and the length of its parts before and after birth of a child.

The regulation did not specify the number of professional players, and whether the registration of amateur players will be accepted.

The move comes as the Saudis are awaiting for the launch of the Saudi Women’s Football League, and the clubs’ announcement of the creation of women’s teams.