Women’s soccer far from a level playing field

Soccer pay-2

After a week of arrests and resignations at the highest level of the game, FIFA has some actual football to focus on.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in Canada over the weekend, not a moment too soon for soccer’s embattled ‘governing’ — if you’ll pardon the looseness of the language — body.

There are some good stories to tell about this tournament. With an expanded field of 24 teams and an estimated global viewership of one billion people thanks to unprecedented TV coverage, the women’s World Cup has never had a bigger stage.

FIFA Godfather

FIFA’s puppet master Sepp Blatter is quick to take all the credit.

“Women’s football is definitely my baby,” he said a month ago, before he had bigger things to worry about. “I consider myself a little bit as a godfather of the organisation of women’s football in FIFA.”

This is the man who once suggested women wear tighter shorts as a marketing strategy. Who said “football is very macho” to explain the lack of women on the FIFA executive. And who, when FIFA finally appointed some female executives, told them to: “Say something, ladies. You are always speaking at home, now you can speak here.”

As far as godfathers go, I think I’d rather have this guy.

Sepp at least had the grace to acknowledge: “Women’s football is still limping a little bit behind.”

That might have something to do with the decision to hold the tournament on artificial turf, something the blokes have never had to endure.

Artificial turf is known for its extreme exfoliative qualities, while players are 40 per cent more likely to suffer knee injuries playing on the fake surface.

turfIt also generates heat, to the point where players had to endure Qatar-like temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius in the opening game between Canada and China.

The issue is compounded when you discover a lawn company offered to install natural grass at all World Cup venues for free and FIFA knocked them back.

Another area where women’s football is ‘limping a little bit behind’ is pay.

Soccer’s highest paid player, Cristiano Ronaldo, raked in $US80 million last year, placing him at No. 2 on Forbes’ list of highest paid athletes, second only to Floyd Mayweather.

The highest paid women’s soccer player, Marta Vieira da Silva, who has been described as the female version of Pele, makes $400,000 a year. Most women don’t make five digits.

Ronaldo takes home 200 times what Marta receives. Ronaldo in fact makes more than every player in the women’s World Cup combined.

If there’s a bigger gender pay disparity anywhere, I’ve yet to find it.

There is still much to do in women’s soccer. But the next month could prove a giant step forward in the women’s game.

So tune in when you can. And go the Matildas!

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Yeah, you’re right. But I think there’s a ridiculous stubbornness against taking Women’s Soccer seriously. I’m working in Vancouver at the moment (gonna go catch the Matildas stomp down Sweden next week in Edmonton) and so far I’ve been a bit disappointed. There’s been little in the way of celebration or promotion since the games started aside from a few commercials for FIFA 2016 video game which will finally include playable female teams (still could do better, but it’s about bloody time regardless). A lot of people that I’ve asked if they’re watching the World Cup have looked at me like I’ve grown a second head and just gone “It’s women’s soccer!” like that’s a valid argument against enjoying what is so far a fantastic and exciting tournament (especially given the *ahem* quality of play amongst the Canadian men’s teams).

    Not all Canadians of course. I know and work with plenty who are loving it, but they’re just as irritated and disappointed with their fellows’ indifference towards a major international sporting event as I am. But, hey, maybe Edmonton will be a bit more excited.

    Regardless, GO THE MATILDAS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kazblah says:

      Great on-the-spot perspective, L&S. Hopefully if people just sneak a peek, they’ll see what the fuss is about. The characters and the commitment are every bit as strong as the men’s game. Good to see the Matildas taking it up to the US yesterday. Gave them a good scare.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a great match. Looked like they might pull off a surprise win a few times, but the US goalie was pretty on the ball (heh). Still, my Canadian manager is taking my boasts about the Matildas’ prowess a little more seriously now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great read, it just boils my blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kazblah says:

      Yes, mine too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LogicOfLuke says:

    Yeah, wow this opened my eyes. Just watched the Matildas play and I have to say, Women’s Football is impressive! Can’t believe it isn’t given more attention and respect than it currently has.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kazblah says:

      Good one, Luke. It should be particularly good as we get to the pointy end of the tournament.

      Like

  4. cvnadagroup2017 says:

    FIFA kehabisan pemain…setelah pecat Indonesia…

    Like

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