Okay, so straight from the off I want to get something clear – nothing I write in this post is by no way meant to sound offensive (sexist etc.), so please don’t take it that way.
Women’s football is one the rise with it now being an Olympic sport, having a dedicated World Cup and continental competitions in place. However I can’t help but notice it doesn’t get the same response as men’s football. In this post I’ll be looking at why this may be the case.
1 – Physicality – football is notorious for being a contact sport, and the girls show us that they have some fight in them too (110 yellow and 3 red cards were shown at the last World Cup in 2015). However some still see the women’s game as not physically challenging as the men’s game. This I feel is something that lets it down, is the perception amongst male fans and their love of the men’s game.
2 – the money – I hate to put this in here but I think it needs mentioning. USA won the last 2015 World Cup in Canada and received $15 million in prize money to be used in women’s football in the States. In comparison Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and were awarded $35 million. This isn’t the only sport that this happens in (see Tennis and Wimbledon), but to have a $20 million divide between genders is huge, especially when the women’s game is growing faster then ever before.
The winning USA team of 2015
3 – clubs – I’m going to take Aston Villa’s Ladies team as an example here. AVLFC as they are known by shorthand, play at a local small 9th tier club pitch that they evidently rent out. I think that if they were to play at a pitch in Aston – or even at Villa Park, this would drastically improve the appeal of the women’s game among fans. Another brainwave I had when writing this was, why not play the game on a matchday before the 3pm kick-off? Might sound silly but it could work. Nonetheless, I think clubs need to do more to get fans over to the women’s side of the game.
4 – the awards – Mia Hamm, Birgit Prinz, Marta. All names of the women’s game to have won World Player of the Year at least twice. These names hardly ever make it into the media due to the overwhelming popularity in the men’s award, and you probably wouldn’t recognise them on a billboard either, again, due to the male dominance. It’s a shame that one individual can have such an impact on the sport and probably won’t get a back-page headline for what they have done.
Mia Hamm on a Gatorade ad in the early 00’s.
5 – it’s still a young sport – the first Women’s World Cup wasn’t until 1991 and the formation of a full professional women’s league in England didn’t take place until 2010, and a second division wasn’t formed until 2014. This is probably the most overriding factor in all of this; and I feel that the next generation of girls can do one hell of a job in pushing the women’s game further and further.
Thanks for reading.