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Womans Football has been getting a lot of coverage recently, with the European Championships being hosted in England at present and woman's club level teams getting a lot more exposure last season.

Lennart Johannson, the president of UEFA, has recently been condemned because of some of his suggestions on how to promote womans football further and how sposnors could cash in on it. (UEFA Boss Responds To Sexism Row - BBC News Online; Friday 17th June 2005).

He seemed happy making comments such as "Companies could make use of a sweaty, lovely looking girl playing on the ground" but condemned comments made last year by Sepp Blatter (president of FIFA) when he called for players to wear 'tighter shorts'.

Whilst we at the shop have come up with many ideas on how they could promote womans football and attract a much wider audience (none of which I'm about to mention here), we believe that people are actually missing the point of promoting a very valid sport.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2005 11:09 am (UTC)
I tried to learn to play football once, I was shit
Jun. 17th, 2005 11:11 am (UTC)
I find the whole thing quite interesting. The thing about Johannson and Blatter's remarks is that, at least on a very basic level, they actually would work in terms of promoting the sport effectively - just not in the right way, and not as a sport.

But how else do you effectively promote it? Because the current state would essentially be "look, it's football of pretty poor standard, but played by women". With the exception of the very top echelon international teams (and we're looking at the top five or six only), it's just, well, bad.

Bit of a viscious circle - the only way you can improve coverage and publicity long term is by offering a much higher standard, and developing that higher standard is very difficult to do without the increased revenues that comes from more coverage.
Jun. 17th, 2005 12:41 pm (UTC)
Well my plan for breaking the vicious circle would be this:

Pass a rule that says that all Premiership football teams have to create/fund a linked women's team. They have to:

* Allow the women's team to have fair use of the team's training facilities.

* Ensure that there's somewhere for them to play that allows reasonable access for spectators (doesn't have to be the main stadium if, say, they have somewhere at their training complex that suits).

* Devote 2% of their budget for players' wages (whatever that might be) to playing the wages of their female professionals.

* Devote 10% of their budget for non-playing staff to playing for staff dedicated to the female players (i.e. coaches etc). Note:- it would be acceptable for this money to be split among staff (fitness people say) who serve both male and female teams.

So the point here is that it needn't cost the earth. You're basically talking about a couple of extra coaches, the use of facilities they already have, and an increase of 2% on your main player wages bill.

Some people might suggest that 2% is an absurdly low figure, but if you think about it, it isn't really. Assuming that you have the same number of female players as male (and I suspect that in reality, the female squad might be slightly smaller), then what it really means is that:

* A typical male professional premiership footballer would earn £25,000 to £75,000 per week.

* A typical female professional premiership footballer would earn £25,000 to £75,000 per year.

Now a wage of £25K to £75K is a hell of a lot less than the men earn - but it's a perfectly good wage to live on.

The point is that the best women players (perhaps 400 of them, drawn from both the UK and around the world) would be employed as full-time professionals, which would a) enable them to hone their skills, and b) give younger girls an ambition to aspire to.

And I think that if you forced the clubs to set up female teams, forced them to spend the money, and forced them to brand those teams as being them (i.e. same name and same strip) then I think most of them would then probably figure they might as well try and do it properly and not damage their brand.

The two obvious problems I can see are:

a) It would feel a bit artificial - these teams would be totally separate from the women's amateur game.

b) Teams being promoted and relegated from the premiership might bugger things up.

I think a is just unavoidable, but not too serious a problem. I mean, by our standards American football teams are a bit artificial, because they exist in the top league not because they did well and got promoted, but because someone created a franchise.

As to b, I would probably say that not *all* Premiership teams have to setup a women's team - only those that had been in the Premiership for more than two seasons (so you probably have about 15-16 teams). That would avoid the problem of teams getting recruited, recruiting a whole women's team, and then having to sack them at the end of one season when they get relegated straight down. It also means that teams would have a couple of years to prepare for creating a women's team.

I might also say that when a team with a women's team does get relegated, there might be a transitional payment to allow them to keep their women's team on for two years (in addition to the transitional payments they already get) so that if they get promoted back up then none of the women lose their jobs.

Any thoughts?
Jun. 17th, 2005 11:42 am (UTC)
Clearly they should have bikini football
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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