Women's Sport: FIFPRO launch report looking at the future of women's football beyond the pandemic

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FIFPRO, the global football player's union, has released a report looking at how women's football can develop and grow following the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, which was due to be released in February, was postponed due to the outbreak, was released now to shine a light on how the game can be supported at a crucial time in its future.

As Reading FC furlough their players and AFC Fylde's women's team is disbanded due to the pandemic, the fragility of the women's game is becoming visible, and FIFPRO's report aims to find a way for clubs to continue to grow.

Drawing on data from clubs, leagues and sponsors around the world as well as surveying 186 national team players from 18 countries the report calls for minimum employment standards globally to ensure that professional players have appropriate contracts, compensation and support. 

Linked to this, the FIFPRO report says that collective bargaining should be a universal industry standard to give players around the world input in the future and development of the game. 

Another objective is to see global minimum standards introduced for international tournaments to make sure that players are protected and competing on an equal basis. FIFPRO calls for new global club and national-team competitions to give players the opportunity to enjoy career longevity. 

The research found that the game has developed since FIFPRO's last report in 2017. For example, wages of national team players increasing at a club level to an average monthly salary of 4,123 euros for those women who took part in the survey.

Similarly, the number of FIFA associations who have active women's national football teams has increased from 55 per cent to 2017 per cent between 2017 and 2019. That does leave over one in four federations without one.

The report cites disparities in the professionalism of clubs and financial burdens for many players. Their survey found that 78 per cent didn't know if their club had a growth strategy. FIFPRO writes: "At best, that means that there is a lack of transparency and player engagement and, at worst, that clubs do not have a strategy."

Of the report, FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said: “We are conscious that we are releasing this report during an extremely uncertain and worrying time, however, we have a responsibility to the professional footballers we represent to chart the way forward for them and their industry.

“We are committed to working with all stakeholders in a united and holistic way to relaunch the industry after the coronavirus pandemic. The professional players we represent and who devote so much time and energy to the women’s game, often with little reward or compensation, must be at the heart of this rebuilding process.”

His sentiments were echoed by Amanda Vandervort, the organisation's chief women’s football officer, said: “We are adamant that the priority of everyone in society, including the football community, is the health and safety of their loved ones at this moment, but we also have a duty to players and to plan for the restart of football.

“Women’s football has demonstrated its tremendous economic potential and shown that it is an asset of great value to sport and society. Let’s focus our energies on both rebuilding the game and reimagining what women’s football can become. We want Raising Our Game to serve as a guiding light to help turn recent momentum into transformative change.”

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