Is European Women’s Football on a Roll?
The past few weeks have been eventful if you’re following women’s football in Europe; Leagues are coming to an end as others are starting and the UEFA Women’s Champions League has provided heaps of action so far. Let’s touch a bit on some of the results and how they indicate the direction in which European women’s football is moving.
Taking a look at the recent results in the national leagues around Europe suggests that the level of women’s football is more competitive than ever:
In Sweden, FC Rosengård, Eskilstuna United, Linköpings FC and Piteå were all part of the race for the title and Champions League spots until the very last round. The English WSL1 also saw a dramatic last round determining whether Chelsea or Manchester City would eventually be lifting the trophy. The Frauen-Bundesliga 2015/2016 recently started in Germany and seems to have had some surprising results, most remarkable is the fact that SC Sand is among the top of the ladder and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam is not.
Also in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the round of 32 had a few surprises. Worth mentioning is last years semi-finalists Brøndby IF who were knocked out by Slavia Praha and FC Bayern München who were overcome by FC Twente. Also UWCL debutants Atlético Madrid, Chelsea and KIF Örebro went through to the next round.
What does this indicate?
Now, I’m not some football expert and I don’t watch all the games but I would still suggest that these recent results indicate that European women’s football is becoming more competitive. The question I ask myself is whether this is caused by a negative or positive development? Put differently; is it because the level of the best teams has declined or because the other teams are improving? I personally believe that the game is being lifted to a higher level because more teams are improving. We see clubs becoming more professionally organised and players having better conditions. I know there is still room for improvement, but if we go back just a few years, we see that we have come a far way since then.
We who support and represent women’s football are desperately voicing a need for more attention but a prerequisite for that is that the product – the women’s game – is entertaining and eventful enough to ”sell”. Tough as it sounds, it is basic business practice. And I believe that the recent results which I have touched upon here prove that European women’s football is moving in the right direction. I am pleased with this development and I really love how we are currently seeing an increase in attention and promotion of the game for example in terms of available games on TV and live stream. What we all know is that increased promotion can lead to more sponsorships which can lead to more money for the clubs and ultimately better conditions for the player which again lifts the level of the game and so on.
As optimistic or even naive as this might sound, if European women’s football really is on a roll, then let’s join the movement by continuing the good, hard work in the clubs to lift the level and keep pushing for continuous promotion and recognition of the women’s game.
Line G. Johansen is a professional Goalkeeper with the Norwegian Toppserien club Amazon Grimstad FK and the Danish Women’s National Team. The talented 26-year old previously played in Denmark, England and Australia. Away from the pitch, Line holds a Master degree in Culture, Communication & Globalisation from Aalborg University, Denmark.