There are rarely drama’s surrounding transfers in the women’s game. And yet the Eva Navarro transfer saga is as messy as it could possibly get.
It all started back in February following the signing of the Collective Agreement. This guaranteed an increased professionalism in terms of working standards, facilities and contracts for female players in Spain.
This also included a “Compensation List,” which would require teams signing a player at the end of her contract to still pay a fee to the former club.
A club would have to supply up to €500,000 if the player they sign is younger than 23 years old.
As a result, Navarro and teammate Ona Batlle were given a €500,000 price tag. A transfer to another Spanish club was nigh on impossible even after their contracts had expired.
Batlle secured a transfer to Manchester United with no issues. But Navarro had her heart set on remaining in Spain. Football unions brought the case to the Spanish National Court. In July, the court decreed that the terms were valid and clubs that signed the Collective Agreement must respect it.
There was a silver lining for Navarro and her fellow players. Clubs that weren’t associated with the Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs, were excused until their inclusion in the agreement was completed. In theory, players like Navarro and Athletic Bilbao’s Damaris Egurrola were free to join Real Madrid or other Spanish clubs.
However, Navarro had suffered a dislocated shoulder which required medical support. The injury delayed her transfer to Madrid. Levante then decided to conclude any medical support for Navarro after the end of her contract. Only after substantial backlash did Levante agree to pay for the young winger’s medical care.
The deadline arrived in August when all clubs became included in the Collective Agreement. If Navarro now wanted to transfer, Madrid would have to pay Levante the full fee. This brought up many questions. Would she spend the next year without a club? Would Madrid pay the asking price?
Well, today we got our answer. Navarro chose to stay at Levante, agreeing to a one-year extension with the Valencian club. The situation raises serious issues regarding the success of the Collective Agreement and it’s suitability to guard players’ rights.
Uncertainty surrounds the futures of young Spanish players like Navarro and Egurrola. Does Egurrola remain in Spain with her previous club like Navarro or does she follow Batlle and move abroad? It is sure to vary but players are still being denied full control over their futures.
We could find ourselves in this very same situation 12 months from now. Navarro’s contract will end and clubs may still be unable to get the money for her. Something will certainly have to change if Spain hope to hold on to their best young talent.