Opinion: Should women's football have a second European competition?

Lyon Women

Following the announcement of the European Club Association’s first women’s football strategy this week, there is now the potential for the introduction of a second European competition to the women’s game.

The proposal was made due to the increased investment and following of women’s football.

Currently the Champions League is the only European competition in women’s football, while the men’s game, as of next season, will have three.

Let’s take a closer look into what a second European competition could look like.

What will this mean for Europe’s top leagues?

As of this season there has been a tweak to how many teams can qualify for next year’s Champions League. In the Women’s Super League and several other country’s top divisions, such as Spain, France and Germany, three teams can now qualify for the competition.

Arsenal Women

If a second European competition was to be introduced, this would surely mean at least one additional side in each main European division would qualify?

Depending on how many teams feature in this competition, one or two teams in the WSL for example could qualify. As a result, the likes of Arsenal, who sit fourth, and Everton, who are fifth, could be joined by the same positioned teams in Europe’s other top leagues.

What effects would it have on clubs who qualify?

With any added competition comes added expense. Despite an ongoing global pandemic, European football’s top competition has still been able to go ahead.

Both the Men’s and Women’s Champions Leagues are being played, with the first-leg of the men’s quarter finals and the second-leg of the same stage for women’s clubs up next

However, an extra competition could actually put strain on a team’s finances significantly. Travel isn’t always cheap, especially when some club’s would have to travel significant distances to get to away games. Add this to the current need for COVID-19 testing, it all adds up.

Barcelona women

Though there has been an increased investment in the women’s game, a fourth or fifth-place finish in their league pays out much less than the same position in men’s football.

As a result, these added expenses might put some sides off wanting to potentially compete in the proposed format.

What proposal would work best?

The proposal by the ECA could see either a World Club Cup style format introduced, or a Europa League style implemented..

Personally, I see the Europa League format working best. I know this is a contradiction due to my last point, but for fans and the future of the women’s game, I feel this style of secondary competition could work well.

Firstly it would allow for more teams to compete against each other – why wouldn't anyone want to see that? But also, imagine the headlines if Arsenal were to go to Hibernian and smash them 8-0.That would make for some good viewership and content.

Lyon Women

I think if this were to be introduced, it would need to start small and grow gradually. Let’s say you take the team that finished fourth in the 16 top ranked leagues in Europe, you have them play a two-legged round of 16 match, then a two-legged quarter final and semi final.

The final would then be a one-leg game at the ground of the host nation’s main stadium.

Prize money should be slightly lower than the Champions League, in order for clubs to deem it feasible.

Having looked at the potential outcomes of a second European competition in women’s football, it would definitely be something that I think fans would be in favour of.

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