Women’s football takes off (or not so much)

Is there a boom in women's football? This seems to be witnessed by the expectation created by the European Champions

Is there a boom in women’s football? This seems to be witnessed by the expectation created by the European Championship that is being disputed these days in England, with the Spanish team among the favorites, by the way. The professionalization of our local competition, the Iberdrola League, goes in the same direction. And the economic analyzes invite optimism… in moderation: according to the Deloitte TMT Predictions 2021 Reportwomen’s sport is about to reach $1 billion in annual revenue.

a figure at a starry distance even from that of the entire sports industrywhich in 2018 reached 481,000 million dollars, with a growth of no less than 45% compared to 2011. That growth could be key: the industry is hungry for new fishing grounds, and the Deloitte report pointed to a survey in which 66% showed interest in at least one female sport (among sports fans, of which 49% were women, the percentage rose to 84%).

The key to evolution, according to Deloitte, is to give women’s sport “a increased media coverage and space in large stadiums (if circumstances allow) on a constant basis ». The European Championship has been an important coup de effector in that sense. The Economistthe English bible of economic trends, headlines in its latest issue: «Euro 2022 gives women’s football a chance to shine» (Euro 2022 gives women’s football a chance to shine), and highlights the BBC’s coverage, while acknowledging that the true origin of opportunity is an absence: «With the Men’s World Cup delayed until winter thanks to the FIFA’s eccentric decision to host the tournament in Qatar, one of the hottest places in the world, women’s matches can enjoy an exceptional few weeks in the spotlight.

The Economistin any case, believes that the foundations are solid, and mentions television audiences for England’s Women’s Super Leaguewhich according to Sky Sports have averaged 125,000 spectators per game. Of the opportunity of the European Championship, however, the BBC, a public television, has taken care of it, let’s not forget it… In the same way, in Spain you can see all the matches of the competition on Teledeporte, a specialized channel of the also public TVE. Women’s football, today, still needs help to progress: it is not yet ready for the pure and simple market.

Unlike the elite of Spanish men’s football, directed by the employers’ association LaLiga, the destinies of the First Women’s Division of Spain, better known as the Iberdrola League after its main sponsor, have so far been governed by the designs of the Real spanish soccer federation, a non-profit public entity. A couple of years ago, the Association of Women’s Club Football (ACFF) requested the Higher Sports Council (CSD), dependent on culture Ministrythe consideration of the women’s first division as a professional, but that meant letting go of the RFEF’s hand.

In March, the CSD Board of Directors agreed with the approval of the statutes of the new Women’s Professional Football League, which will give rise to the long-awaited professionalism from next season… with an investment by the CSD of 31 million euros over the next three years. During all this time, the CSD will supervise the evolution of the project. More than coming of age, we would be talking about a promising adolescence.

“Women’s football is advancing, but it would be a mistake to fall into euphoria, a danger fueled by the voluntarism of certain ideologies that tend to disdain without much hesitation that small detail that is reality”

The good figures that he boasted The Economist for the equivalent in Great Britain they also have a trick. In his “Economic-Financial Analysis of the FA Women’s Super League”, Maria Pineiro de la Esperanza, of the Comillas Pontifical University, concludes that «English women’s professional football is not profitable and it is sustained, mainly, thanks to the financial support provided by the men’s clubs that compete in the men’s first division league, the Premier League.

Women’s football advances, but it would be a mistake to fall into euphoria, danger fueled by the voluntarism of certain ideologies that tend to despise without much hesitation that small detail that is reality. Sport is a healthy activity, so it should be encourage its exercise by the entire human species, without gender discrimination. Its industrial capacity as a show has to do with the demand from potential spectators. That demand has created a bag of specific professionals who do not practice a sport exactly healthy. Any former elite athlete can explain the aftermath of a minimally intense career. He compensates them. Perfect. But make no mistake. What are we talking about?

The best player in Spain, Alexia PutellasWomen’s Ballon d’Or, he tore the cruciate ligaments in his knee just before the start of the European Championship. Medical evidence shows that women are at higher risk of knee injuries due to anatomical factors. The technical characteristics of football have a special impact on this joint. Is it a sexist who says that he would prefer that his daughter did not dedicate herself professionally to it? The answer is easy: and why a son?

The possibilities oflesions of this type are less in a male, true, but they are still much higher than those of a non-professional. So, do we want our children to be professional athletes? Well, the salary is a good reason. And the glory. And so on. But… does that have to be promoted by the State? What are we talking about?