Peru’s football federation, threatened with a players’ boycott of the national team, has announced a number of changes aimed at improving conditions for the players in the country.
The federation (FPF) said, among other things, clubs will be forced to pay pension and social security contributions for the players while coaches and their assistants would be protected by labour legislation.
It also banned midday kick offs on synthetic pitches, which have led to players complaining of intolerable conditions because of the heat.
The announcement came less than three weeks before Peru’s next World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, and with the federation facing the prospect of a boycott by the players.
The players’ union Safap said in May its members would ignore international call-ups unless a series of reforms were introduced.
Peru have not qualified for a World Cup since 1982 and are bottom of the region’s 2010 qualifying group.
The domestic game is in a terrible state with players often going months without being paid and clubs sometimes struggling to even find training pitches.
Peru were briefly suspended by FIFA last year because of a row with the government’s Institute for Sports (IPD), which refused to recognise FPF president Manuel Burga.
In other measures, the FPF announced a new promotion system for the national championship to come into effect in 2011.
Teams from the top flight, which will be renamed Division Premier, will be relegated to the second division while those finishing bottom of the second will go into the Copa Peru, a nationwide tournament featuring mainly amateur clubs.
Under the old system, the Copa Peru winners were promoted straight into the top division, meaning clubs could reach the top flight only one year after being founded.
Relegated teams found themselves playing tiny amateur clubs in the early stages of the following season’s Copa Peru.