Women's Sports: Israelis all-female group win the fight for equal state funding for women's football

Women's sports

A movement consisting of female football players have won a ruling at the supreme court in Israel for gender-based funding. The state is now to adjust the budget accordingly for 2019, providing vital funding for women's football.

The movement named "Female Football Players Make a Change", came together after the FIFA Women's World Cup as an inspiration to create change in Israel. The campaign has gained massive support from male football athletes over the summer. 

While most of the income in the men's game comes from sponsorship deals and TV rights, the new allocation of state funds for the women's game would result in the Israeli Women's Premier League being able to commence despite previous doubts over the lack of funding. The team's budgets are expected to rise by more than 100 per cent.

Oshrat Eni, a defender at Israeli champions Asa Tel Aviv and one of those behind the movement, said, "the sports ministry's decision is a relief, and that the previous situation posed a real threat to the existence of women's football in Israel. Public funds support 90 per cent of Israeli women's football. It's a lifesaver, at least for this season."

Criticism over reallocation of funds
However, according to reports in Israel, the Israeli sports ministry has decided not to add any extra funds to its existing budget, but rather reallocate existing funds. Among those facing budgetary cutbacks are women's teams in other sports, such as basketball and volleyball, that had already taken the state's funding into account before the beginning of the 2019/20 season.

"There's a need to change the culture when it comes to women's sports in general. I represent women's football, but socially, I don't think other sports should be hurt. It's public money, it should be split equally between men and women," Eni tells DW.

This is because every women's team was due to receive between 150,000 (39,000 euros) and 200,000 (52,000 euros) shekels as a result of the decision.

As for the future, Eni says there's still a long way to go for women's sports in Israel. "I hope the Court's final decision will give women the equal opportunity to take part in sports," she concludes.

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