A new report has shown the excellent recent growth of women’s football, as well as showing the problems that exist.
The #WorldAtHerFeet report was unveiled on 29 May by Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), one of the world’s largest full-service global communications agencies. They released the report at a debate in London, in front of an audience of football stakeholders and media.
The 50-page report outlines BCW’s key findings on the current situation in the women’s game, including the rise in attendances, sponsorship deals and media coverage. The report also includes recommendations for the future, on what can be done to further develop women’s football.
One of the principal findings was about the increase of big-brand sponsorship- sponsors are becoming more inclined to invest in the women’s game, because they believe that it is good for business to invest in a world that produces healthy, confident and empowered women.
Top clubs across Europe are also playing a key role in forcing positive change, with French side Olympique Lyonnais the best example. The Division 1 Féminine club, who recently won their fourth consecutive Champions League, have an “exceptional focus” on professionalism and player development.
The problem of the pay gap is also still prevalent across the game, with female referees earning less than their male counterparts in major tournaments. It is also a concern for the players, as a staggering 90% of female professional players say that financial, family or career reasons may force them to quit the sport.
Additionally, the number of women in football management and boardrooms is still shockingly low. Despite a recent increase, less than 1% of presidents of national football associations are female. Investment in infrastructure also remains weak, with the grassroots game in particular still short of funds.
BCW’s findings show both positive and negative aspects in the current state of women’s football. While attendances, sponsorship investment and player development are improving, salaries, female representation and infrastructural investment continue to struggle.
Karen Massin, CEO of BCW Brussels, said: “This is an exciting time for women’s football. Rising levels of participation and growing attendance are giving a new impetus to the game. While challenges remain, there is an unmistakeable mood of optimism around the sport.
She added: “As a company committed to diversity, equality and empowerment, we are proud to support women’s football and women’s sport.”
The #WorldAtHerFeet report was unveiled by BCW at a debate in London on 29 May, with football stakeholders and media present for the presentation of the findings.