Beginning in 2019, women’s football entered a crucial three-year cycle that would shape the future of the women’s game. Following the highly successful FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last summer, the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020 was supposed to be the next milestone. In the Olympics, women’s football showcases senior talent, meaning that national teams are selecting their best players in the quest for gold. Tokyo 2020’s new date is August 2021.
Next in line is UEFA Women’s Euros 2021. The postponement of the Olympic Games combined with the postponement of the men’s UEFA 2020 Euros by a year, forced the women’s tournament to move to the summer of 2022.
It can be argued, that the three-year cycle is postponed rather than cancelled. The new cycle will be Olympics in 2021, Euros in 2022, and World cup in 2023. These three years are still crucial for the growth of the game. The real question is, how big is the impact of no international tournament in 2020 together with the disruption of domestic competitions?
In light of the impact on the football industry by Covid19, FIFPRO, the organization in charge of representing all football players globally, is the first to come out and analyse the potential risks that women’s football might face during the crisis and once football resumes.
For many years, FIFPRO is a known supporter of the women’s game and an advocate for its growth and better working conditions. As an organization responsible for players, FIFPRO asked for their feedback and concerns about the state of the women’s game moving forward. Here are the highlights of FIFPRO’s paper, COVID-19: Implications For Professional Women’s Football
- Future of International Competitions
- Inconsistent communication from football’s leaders
- Mental health
- Overall uncertainty
- Pressure to preform
- Player fitness and conditioning
Suggested Response By FIFPRO
- Women’s Football is valuable – Keep providing it with adequate means to elevate its social capital and education of players
- Commercial growth and increased awareness – Access to the game must be with minimal barriers and supported by direct investment, broadcasting flexibility and improved facilities availability
- Maintain the importance of international tournaments – The women’s football calendar must not compensate domestic for international and vice versa
- Keep working towards professionalism – stakeholders ought to be creative in regulations and governance structures to allow further career development
Further in the paper, FIFPRO tackles key issues around labour standards in women’s football and why applying a global approach is key. The examined issues are the professional status, contracts, employment benefits (housing, health insurance), wages, compensations and payments, match calendar and workload.
The general sense in the industry is that women’s football is simply ignored. This was reported by various women’s football writers and discussed in webinars. The next international tournaments are more than a year down the line. Perhaps it was easy for football’s governing bodies to remain silent and come back with a message once they finished planning and have a clear idea of how to move forward.
Despite the ongoing crisis, women’s football is at a stage that it will no longer hold back. More call to action from FIFPRO aimed at football’s stakeholders will ensure that the recent growth continues. It is football’s obligation to address all of its components adequately.
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