WOMEN’S professional football has been in the ascendancy over the past few years, certainly from the perspective of profile and public awareness. The prominent competitions such as the World Cup and European Championship have attracted mass media attention, while one-off events have seen big crowds attend local derbies in major stadiums.
The coronavirus stopped football in its tracks, creating an air of uncertainty and questions about sustainability. There are genuine and understandable fears that clubs, many of whom underpin the development of their women’s teams at a loss, might reprioritise revenue towards their main sources of income, thus compromising the positive trajectory of the women’s game?
Laura McAllister, a former Wales international and currently Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at Cardiff University, believes it would be short-sighted of clubs to sacrifice their women’s teams. “Those clubs that see the real value that women’s football creates will maintain their investment, but there is a real possibility that the redirection of funds could happen. Some would say that football has become too greedy at the top level and over-focused on the elite end of the game,” she says. The dilemma facing football has been recognised by many people within the game, notably the player’s union, FIFPro, who called the pandemic an “existential threat” to the women’s game.
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