England Lionesses stars Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze’s Barcelona debuts end in disaster after referee fails to turn up
ENGLAND Women pair Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh have been forced to wait for their Barcelona debuts because of a referee strike.
Spain’s female officials are on strike over pay and working conditions.
All matches in the Primera División were postponed with Barcelona’s game against Levante Las Planas set to be the last to take place.
Bronze and Walsh warmed up with their new team-mates and even lined up ahead of kick-off, only for the game to be called off.
All other matches played out in the same fashion despite knowing the games would not be taking place due to the absence of match officials.
The referees announced on Thursday they would be striking as the league had not listened to their concerns.
A statement read: “We want to get back on the field, but under the appropriate conditions.
“The referees want to provide the best possible service to football and that necessarily means having minimum working conditions comparable to those of the refereeing establishment of the men’s professional competition.”
Match officials also argue they have been left behind following the league’s switch to professional competition.
Amongst the demands is a request for improved wages, as they feel the €320 (£277) referees make and the €160 (£138) assistants make for each match is not enough.
But the league (LPFF) has hit back claiming they will “not accept blackmail”.
They said in a statement: “In case the referees and assistants do not appear, the LPFF will proceed to file the corresponding complaints.”
Bronze and Walsh completed transfers to the Nou Camp this summer, with Walsh becoming the most expensive female footballer ever following her impressive performances at the Euros.
Walsh was named player of the match in the final win over Germany and that encouraged Barca to splash out £400,000 on the midfielder.
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