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Wales Women manager Jayne Ludlow welcomes FIFA's maternity leave proposal

Wales Women manager Jayne Ludlow has backed FIFA’s proposal to introduce mandatory maternity leave for players as part of a package designed to protect the rights of women footballers.

The reforms have been put forward by FIFA’s Football Stakeholders Committee (FSC) and will go before FIFA’s Council for approval in December.

Speaking on the plan for a change in maternity rights as she revealed her squad for the Euro 2022 Qualifier against Belarus at Rodney Parade on December 1, Ludlow said: “I think many would say it’s probably been a long time coming.

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“The game is developing so quickly right now and this was obviously just another part that needed to be done because if you are a professional female, just like in any other walk of life, if you’re a professional in any other job, you would expect these things.

“Thankfully for females who are playing in the game now who do want a family, then it’s fantastic for them.

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“We have Helen (Ward) in particular who’s come through that environment and hasn’t had that support but I’m sure she would definitely be one that would encourage that.

“I think back to my playing days and Katie Chapman was another, and it was a struggle for those players and obviously they questioned whether they could step back into the environment and if they were getting the support they needed at the right time.

“When you break it all down, those professional players need to be looked after in a professional manner, so this for me is part of that.”

As for the game against Belarus in Newport at the start of next month, Ludlow has called up uncapped duo Esther Morgan and Caitlin Morris.

Both have come through the age-group teams with Wales, while Morgan has been training with the Tottenham Hotspur first team and captained the U19s in last year’s UEFA Women’s EURO U19 qualifying round.

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“I’m hoping they’ll be able to fit right in here and compete from the off,” Ludlow said of the two players.

“There may be some nerves but knowing both very well, and knowing their abilities both on and off the pitch, I know they’ll be a good part of the team.

“They’re intelligent players and they’ve developed really well in their club environments, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they compete.”

Wales Squad: Laura O’Sullivan (Cardiff), Claire Skinner (Cardiff), Olivia Clark (Coventry United), Jess Fishlock (Reading), Sophie Ingle (Chelsea), Hayley Ladd (Manchester United), Gemma Evans (Bristol City), Rhiannon Roberts (Liverpool), Angharad James (Reading), Nadia Lawrence (Cardiff), Rachel Rowe (Reading), Natasha Harding (Reading), Elise Hughes (Blackburn), Helen Ward (Watford), Kayleigh Green (Brighton), Josie Green (Tottenham), Lily Woodham (Reading), Maria Francis-Jones (Cardiff), Ffion Morgan (Crystal Palace), Kylie Nolan (Cardiff), Carrie Jones (Manchester United), Georgia Walters (Blackburn), Chloe Williams (Manchester United), Esther Morgan (Tottenham), Caitlin Morris (Southampton), Charlie Estcourt (London Bees).

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