Global players’ union FIFPro has called for measures to safeguard the women’s game, as it says its growth is now
at risk of receding, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, which presents an ‘almost existential threat’ according to
its 16 April report.
Without having secured solid structural foundations for long-term sustainability, some women’s leagues and
clubs are releasing players, cutting contracts and closing down.
Female players the world over, like their male counterparts, have been forced to stop playing with countries going
FIFPro warns that women’s football, despite recent growth, is particularly vulnerable, with less established
professional leagues, lower salaries and less investment.
In England, the Women’s Super League, including some of the continent’s wealthiest clubs, have been hoping to
finish their campaign by the end of August, but it depends on lockdown measures being eased.
According to French players’ union the UNFP, only a third of female players in France wish to restart the season,
with the rest insisting health matters should remain the priority.
Former Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, who plays for French side Lyon said: “If you see how the biggest
men’s clubs are struggling, you can only imagine how this is going to affect women’s teams.”
FIFPro’s report highlights the vulnerability of female players, with just 18 percent having professional contracts
as recognised by FIFA in 2017.
“We have to protect players as people and as workers and avoid mass unemployment and recession. The
women’s football industry will require innovation and intervention from across the private sector and public
sectors, from policymakers and governing bodies, to broadcasting companies and sponsors,” the report says.