Chelsea midfielder Melanie Leupolz will not play again this season after announcing she is pregnant, the club have confirmed.
The 27-year-old Germany international will continue with “light training” in the coming months, the club have revealed, but will not be available to play for the reigning Women’s Super League champions.
A statement from the club read: “Melanie Leupolz announced the happy news of her pregnancy to staff and teammates at the club.
“Leupolz, who has been with the club for two years, will continue to be supported by the club’s medical staff in the coming months as she continues light training. However, she will not feature in fixtures for the remainder of the season as she prepares for her new arrival.
“We look forward to welcoming Melanie back after her maternity leave and are delighted to welcome a new member to the Blues family.”
The news comes after the FA and PFA unveiled sweeping reforms to women’s football in February, which included the adoption of a comprehensive family leave policy, which provides extra protection for players if they have children during their career. their career.
Under the new policy, players going on maternity leave will be entitled to 14 weeks at 100% of their regular salary and any additional compensation, before returning to the applicable statutory rate.
Previously, any improvements were at the discretion of the club, with the standard minimum being statutory maternity pay.
Even then, a player had to have been at a club for at least 26 weeks to qualify – under the new policy there is no minimum qualifying period.
Reigning champions Chelsea are second in the Women’s Super League, eight points behind leaders Arsenal with three games to go and nine games to play this season.
Chelsea Women’s remaining matches
- March 10: West Ham vs Chelsea – WSL – 7.45pm – live sky sports
- March 13: Chelsea v Aston Villa – WSL – 1pm
- March 16: Everton v Chelsea – WSL – 7pm
- March 20th: Chelsea v Birmingham – FA Cup – 2pm
- March 23: Chelsea vs Tottenham – WSL – 7.45pm – live sky sports
- March 27: Leicester v Chelsea – WSL – 3pm
- April 3: Chelsea v Reading – WSL – 2pm
- April 24: Tottenham v Chelsea – WSL – 2pm
- May 1: Birmingham v Chelsea – WSL – 2pm
- May 8: Chelsea v Manchester United – WSL – 12:30 p.m.