Women’s football looks to Germany and the US in the midst of a pandemic on the anniversary of the World Cup

It was said the day it was announced to the rest of the world, she and her teammates were given 15 minutes to deal with the news before the statement was released.

But Young’s story has a happier ending. Four weeks after the initial decision, AFC Fylde reversed the course and next season, whenever possible, the women’s team will continue to play in the National League of the Northern Premier Division.

“A lot has changed,” explains Young who will, as part of the restructuring, become a joint manager, along with Kim Turner.

“The club is raising basic finances, in terms of league fees, training funds, but no funds for expenses. We are trying to make a fundraiser; we are looking for sponsorships and we hope to be able to recoup that money elsewhere.

“At the end of the tunnel there is a light. Resistance to what happened to us, and we are on the third level, opened our eyes. This game has appeared so much in the last 10 years.”

Twelve months ago France hosted a Women’s World Cup which launched women’s soccer in the sports stream. The competition spread around the world and multiplied numbers and dominated news bulletins, transforming similarities American women’s national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan to household names far outside their home country.
But the momentum gained during France in 2019, when the USWNT switched to a record fourth world title, lost? How much have football leagues, sponsorships and sponsorships and broadcasts generally suffered less than in men’s play, how much will women’s football suffer?

Insecurity is not a novelty in women’s football, nor is inequality. Those who are most exposed to them are always the most exposed. And France in 2019 was never perfect.

The tournament not only highlighted how women’s football is at different stages of development from country to country, but also focused on the differences between men’s and women’s tournaments, from marketing two exhibition events to prize money.
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And in the moments after the final in Lyon it was boos Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, at the Olympic Stadium and chanting about “equal pay” in support of the fight against USWNT players for equal pay. That battle is still going on. Women footballers around the world would still fight on numerous fronts, even had pandemic they did not stop the societies.

As the experience of each Covid-19 country differed, so did the response and speed with which it attempts to return to some semblance of normalcy. It is finally a public health issue.

That same week, the English Football Association ended the season for its own the two best women’s leagues, German Frauen Bundesliga restarted behind closed doors.
It’s not a fact that German leagues haven’t financially hit Covid-19. Kicker magazine reported last month 13 of the 36 best clubs faced insolvency.
But most importantly, the four leading clubs in the country – Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen – have contributed a lot solidarity fund for teams in the men’s third division and the Frauen Bundesliga, which covers costs coronavirus testing.

Fritz Keller, president of the German Football Association (DFB), said as he continued the season that the Frauen Bundesliga “took on a pioneering role in international women’s football.”

Barrett (front, r) tries to fight Wolfsburg Joelle Wedemeyer (l).
Amber Barrett and Lara Dickenmann they were part of the league’s first resumption game after a two-month closure as their teams, FC Koln and Wolfsburg, played behind closed doors at the AOK Stadium on May 29th.

They both talk about their sudden return and how managing the health and well-being of the clubs has alleviated the initial problems.

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“This one [the resumption of the Frauen Bundesliga] will do huge things for women’s football in Germany, but it will also do huge things for women’s football in general, “Barrett says for CNN Sport.

“It just shows that there is an intention. If we want women’s football to be taken seriously, we have to take it seriously.”

Players are tested regularly and are gradually returned to contact training. “We weren’t allowed to touch any equipment; everything was sterilized,” says Barrett of FC Koln for the first 10 days of training as he socially distanced himself.

There were oddities, Barrett admits, as the team was split into four locker rooms on match day, substitutions had to be socially distanced and no hug was allowed during the goal celebration in a match in which triple-back Wolfsburg won 4-0.

FC Koln Eunice Beckmann (r) avoids Wolfsburg Anna Blässe.

Disappointed as the players’ voices were amplified by the lack of fans, Dickenmann watched the game unfold from the substitution bench. The return of the league is positive for her and her teammates, says the Swiss, but there are concerns for teams that are not as well funded as the league’s first two teams, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich.

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“The gap between the best and the teams in last place has gotten even bigger and we have a lot of games,” Dickenmann explains. Thirty-eight matches will be played in the Bundesliga Frauen in four weeks, and the season ends on 28 June.

“We have a great team, but other teams don’t have that luxury. It will be hard for them to get through this week without injury.”

Although Germany has shown what is possible, some players are concerned about the possibility of playing behind closed doors. “Our recognition comes from the number of people attending our games.” Ada Hegerberg, who plays in French Division 1 Féminine, who has been canceled for this season, Christina Macfarlane told CNN last month.

Charlie Dobres is the marketing director of Lewes FC, an English fan-owned club, who says he is the first and only gender-equal club in the world. Planning to continue football in England is underway, he says, and the club is working on the assumption that Lewes ’men’s and women’s teams will play behind closed doors when the next season kicks off.

Playing in the championship, the second layer of English women’s football, without a lucrative broadcast program to boost cafes, Lewes FC women needs match revenue.

Over the past two seasons, attendance at the women’s games in Lewes has quadrupled, on average, to about 600 per game.

But while Dobres admits he is extremely concerned about the future of the women’s game, he also sees the crisis as an opportunity and called for next season’s matches in the two best English football divisions to be broadcast live on television. For example, the Frauen Bundesliga is broadcast for free in the UK, and is also shown in Scandinavia and Mexico.

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“Instead of Covid-19 being an event on the verge of extinction, it could actually be an amazing entry into a whole new step change in women’s soccer,” he tells CNN Sport.

“If you have those seats and broadcasting structure in place, and there’s no crowd, the argument says simply if you’re going to show a man’s match in X, Y or Z at three o’clock and use exactly the same infrastructure, protocols and all the same, crucially with the same available audience, then women’s games are played on the same day.

“This opens the door to higher show offers for the advancement of women’s football and another key factor [is], since you can’t attend live sports, you have a captive audience at home. “

Restart the project, a term coined to describe the return of the behemoth who is the English football league, has dominated England to such an extent that little airspace has been given when or how the next season will begin for leagues whose current campaigns have ended.

“Our point is that, given all the mass public and the support of the Premier League, we still don’t hear exactly the same urgency in these debates to launch top women’s football, and that’s interesting. It’s depressing and interesting, and at the same time unbelievable. it’s easy to change, ”Dobres says.

“All this is a choice and it really is the choice of the people who hold power. It’s not us; they are not clubs or individual players. They are the government, be it FIFA, FA, government, etc., and, in a way, they have a choice big commercial players in the football space, for example, television stations.We want to influence that decision.

“We are really afraid that this will not happen. There is definitely a world, if you move towards the behavior of the past, the most likely outcome is that women’s football will be reduced by this crisis, and women’s football will be restored.

“The coming months are a vision test. They are a test of how big their vision is. If you believe football should have absolute equality and that is your starting point, then all your actions and decisions stem from that.”

Following the 2019 World Cup, FIFA has promised to double its investment in women’s football over the next four years to $ 1 billion, and earlier this year announced it had distributed nearly $ 8.5 million in solidarity funding to professional and core clubs for players who have finally played year World Cup.

in a statement to CNN, Sarai Bareman, chief executive of FIFA’s women’s football, said the governing body “undertook an extensive stakeholder consultation process to gather data on the effects the virus had at all levels of women’s play.”

She added: “As football gradually returns to the game, we need to work together with our members and all stakeholders in football to ensure that the momentum for women’s play is not lost.

“Collectively, we can ensure that growth levels are maintained and momentum, and even growth, as football clubs in many countries begin to reopen their pitches to players and staff.”

Barcelona striker Toni Duggan (R) celebrated during a Spanish league football match against Atletico.

Spain is the second major European power looking for time in its best women’s league this season. For La Liberty Iberdrol, this was the first season to sell its TV rights.

Speaking of a Soccerex webinar in May, days before the La Liga Iberdrola season was called off, Pedro Malabia, director of women’s football for La Liga, said: “Our clubs, if we finished the season as it is, we would lose almost € 600,000 in TV rights alone ( 671,949 USD), plus all commercial plus other income. “

That’s a lot of money for women’s teams to lose. But just as La Liga Iberdrola studied the National League of Women in Football in the U.S. for strategies on how to build their brand – and successfully, so 60,739 world records were set for the women’s club last year as Atletico Madrid hosted Barcelona – so both she and other leagues could learn from the NWSL on how to adapt to the current climate.

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Last month, the NWSL announced that a 25-game tournament, the NWSL Challenge Cup 2020, would be held in Utah from June 27, making it the first American sports league to return to action.

“It was really important to find a way to continue that momentum,” NSWL commissioner Lisa Baird told reporters, referring to the momentum that built the USWNT triumph in France, and saying before reports surfaced that Rapinoe would not participate.

“We have an exciting format and [having] the best players on the planet in our league give us a chance to play that momentum, maybe not in the way we thought we would, but in a good way. “

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The cost of the tournament is covered by sponsorship and TV offers – CBS All Access will show the games, which will also be available worldwide via Twitch. Dell Loy Hansen, owner of Utah Royals FC, will provide accommodation units and training for nine league teams

Lynsey Douglas, a leading role for women’s sports in sports industry analytics Nielsen Sports, believes the next few weeks are crucial to women’s sports.

“We see so much flexibility and innovation that we’ve never seen it in sports … it’s a huge opportunity for women’s sport to be on the same page, at the same table when all these re-preparations and different ideas come up,” he tells CNN Sport.

“The last few weeks have shown that women’s sport is really in question and there is a danger that this opportunity will be missed. It is important that in the next few weeks, major governing bodies, big leagues, clubs look at women’s sports and where it fits.

“It should be an opportunity for women’s sports to fight better, to come out in a more equal way, but now the reality is a huge challenge that women’s sports can go backwards, maybe be left out of the table.

“That’s the main persistent view of what will come out of this and where we stand in women’s sports.”

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