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Eight Things You Did Not Know About Women’s Football

womens football game player shot saved by keeperFollowing arguably the climax of one of the most enthralling women’s football World Cup tournaments over the last decade, in which there were many illuminating selling points, this has maybe thrown up a number of things about women’s football that perhaps had gone unnoticed up until now.

Certainly, the 2023 women’s football World Cup arguably could be held on par with some of the most entertaining spectacles of the sport in recent years; many could make a case for this; some of the talent on show could rival many in the men’s game, as determined by a number of teams from around the world.

However, it did perhaps throw up some curiosities that, maybe a number of people were not aware about in the women’s game.

Pay Disparity Compared To Men

football money costsWhile for now, due to the overwhelming popularity of the men’s game, women get paid considerably less than male footballers, it would be remiss to say that this has anything to do with talent.

The top bracket for the best women’s footballer’s is understood to be around £80,000-£100,000 per week – and that is for the very best. When you take into account (and certainly now with Saudi influence), male footballers earning almost quadruple, it really does put things into a new light.

However, only a couple of decades ago, the best paid male footballers in the world were earning approximately close to that, which suggests, due to the growing popularity of women’s football, this could well move in the same direction over time.

Many Women Footballers Have Full Time Jobs

word jobs written with post it notes on cork notice board

Certainly, this is true – especially even as low as the middle tier of the highest women’s league. Speaking in 2017, Tottenham player, Jenna Schillaci revealed: “we train three nights a week, work five days a week and then we play on a Sunday. You’ve just got to balance it, but when you’re doing what you love it’s easy”.

In addition to this, it must be taken into account that some women footballers may have husbands who have full-time careers as well (and maybe who earn more, if considering an elite investment bankers or lawyers salary – just as an example) and, as a result, issues such as childcare may be an issue.

Due to this, the complications of balancing this lifestyle, because you are a full-time women’s footballer, may be more of an issue than most people realised.

Continuous Prejudice

sexism on pink and blue backgroundOver the last decade, women’s football has very rightfully earned its even respect with the men’s game – something that half a decade or more earlier would have been seen as arguably laughable, considering the culture in that period.

Despite this, there is still an, albeit, minority within society who still view women’s football as somewhat of a ‘hilarity’ and one that should not be considered.

However, recent tournaments have shown (especially considering the English national team), that they can hold their own; even on par (or, indeed better), than the men’s team, having won the recent European Championship tournament against Spain.

Women’s Football Is On The Rise

Watering Can Growing TreeYes indeed. According to a UEFA report, it is understood that well in excess of 1.270 million women footballers are registered across Europe and that figure is understood to grow rapidly.

However, this may not come as a surprise – especially to those concerned with English culture. Over the last 30 years, football was prevalent in the school curriculum for girls as an option for the Physical Education (PE) subject, which saw an overwhelming number of female students take part.

As a result, it is perhaps, hardly surprising why so many chose to follow this through as a chosen career and, should maybe warrant respect for doing so, in light of their much more popular male counterparts.

Women’s Football Began In The 19th Century

british ladies football team 1895

North team of the British Ladies’ Football Club 1895 – Here, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It is understood in some circles that women have been recognised as having played football since as early as the 19th century. The FA (Football Association) have documented that the first ever public women’s football game took place in Crouch End, London between ‘North and South’, in which North were the victors by seven goals to one. It can only be interpreted that this was between teams represented by those from the north of England and the south.

Indeed, this event was reportedly communicated via a ‘lady correspondent’ working for the Manchester Guardian in 1895, in her own words, in which she relayed the following dialogue:

“The North team were by far the best, and deserved the seven goals to one by which they beat their opponents. The crowd, while evidently much amused at the peculiar style of play, were genuinely interested, and backed up the respective sides with shouts and cries of encouragement.”

Women Coach Men’s Football

renate blindheimYes, that’s right. At the age of 26, Renate Blindheim became the first ever, highest-ranking women’s football coach, to take charge of a men’s football team, when she assumed control of a second-tier side in Norway, Sotra and ultimately steered them into steady waters.

She also wasn’t the first to do this though. This being Carolina Morace who took charge of Serie C1 side in Italy, Viterbase, however, due to interference from the team’s president regarding political issues, she resigned after just two games. Despite this, she was not deterred and ultimately went on to coach the Italian and Canadian women’s football team’s respectively, in addition to starting her own coaching academy.

US Women’s Football Secured A Record Pay Deal

football increasing piles of moneyIt is understood that in May 2022, the US Women’s National Team successfully negotiated an accord with the governing body of the country to agree to an equal rights pay deal for the sport.

As a result, it meant that the US  female national football team in the country would be entitled to receive $22 million (equating to £17.7 million), as a payout, in addition to another $2 million (£1.6 million) in order to contribute towards the fund for players who have to retire from the game, and who potentially want to pursue careers associated to the sport.

2022 ‘El Clasico’ Attendance Record

stadiumAt the Camp Nou (Nou Camp in English), a new attendance record was set for the ‘El Clasico’ match between fierce, historic rivals, Real Madrid and Barcelona. It saw an attendance of 91,553 fans attend the game, with the Catalan club overcoming their opposition to win 8-3 on aggregate in a Champions League semi-final.

The result on the night was 5-2 to Barcelona, having won the first leg 3-1 to go on to help become a part of history. For this momentous occasion, the history books set the date at March 22, though unbelievably, only 10 days prior, the men’s ‘El Clasico’ between the two clubs; Barcelona and Real Madrid had taken place recording an attendance of only 60,017 people.

What Can Be Taken From This?

womens football swedish fanThere is no denying that women’s football is closer than ever to competing with the men’s sport and, there is no reason why this should not be the case. Indeed, there is an argument that the most talented women actually possess more grace on the ball than men, while there is an age-old argument about women being able to multitask better than their male counter-parts.

Although issues such as spatial awareness may always be up for debate, as well as natural predatorial nature, there is likely no doubt that women’s football has never been closer to competing with the men’s game.

Furthermore, when you throw in the potential influence from the United States and the funding that could well be contributed towards this, it could well see this emulated considerably across the globe even more. This is certainly a women’s sport that is making a statement and there certainly should be no questioning it.

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