GFF Regulations Do Not Provide for Reproductive Health of Female Players – Public Defender

The Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Georgian Football Federation (GFF) with a recommendation in the case of sex discrimination, which was issued based on the appeal of professional female players. The interests of female players were represented by the Women’s Initiatives Supportive Group (WISG).

WISG has raised several issues with the ombudsman, including the fact that, unlike men, women players do not have access to health services and various resources, and as a result, their health is compromised and their quality of life is deteriorated. Additionally, women’s reproductive health needs are not addressed in the current GFF regulations.

The WISG survey has demonstrated that more than half of the female players surveyed do not undergo health screening procedures, while 82.2% do not have access to health insurance.

“The insurance package is not tailored to the needs of the player and covers so little medical service that it is almost indistinguishable from the universal healthcare. I, for example, need a fairly expensive medication once every 6 months for post-trauma rehabilitation, which the insurance company refused to reimburse. I have no idea how to cover this expanse with my personal funds, especially with the low pay that I have. Moreover, I think that all the achievements and positive changes in this field should directly affect the professional lives of the girls regardless of their success, recognition, or club status. The fact that some clubs are in a better position in terms of healthcare or insurance does not change the general, alarming situation,” – said Lana Gorgadze, a player of the club Martve, in an interview with WISG.

In the event of an injury or other health problem, communication with administrative staff remains the only way for a player to receive the payment needed for medical examinations, although, as the players’ daily experience shows, neglect by the administration or inadequate, delayed and incomplete assistance is still systematic.

The Public Defender of Georgia considers the circumstance that the regulations of the Georgian Football Federation do not take into account the special needs of women in the field of reproductive health as discrimination, in particular: the mandatory training of doctors of licensed teams does not include sexual and reproductive health issues of female players; In the context of the sexual and reproductive health of female players, no guidance document (standards) on pregnancy and post-pregnancy physical activity of female players has been adopted; Also, the right to motherhood of the female players is inadequately protected.

On January 13, the GFF responded to the Public Defender with a letter stating that it was ready to take into account the sexual and reproductive health issues of female players. Also, a request was made to the Public Defender to develop an appropriate guideline on pregnancy and subsequent physical activity of female players, as the federation does not have the competence to do so.


Photo: GFF

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