Fortunately, it has stopped being news, Women’s Football has come to stay! Names like Abby Wambach, Christine Sinclair, Marta Vieira da Silva, Michelle Akers, Birgit Prinz or Homare Sawa are becoming more familiar, about time!
Social media is the main source of information about this passion that is exponentially growing among football lovers. Now more than ever, we are able to closely follow these fighters that have made a difference in the way we perceive sports.
For example, we have beaten two records of attendance to female football fixtures this year in Spain.
Haters gonna hate
However, the rise of women’s football is also subject to all kinds of opinions. The negative ones tend to involve an absurd comparison between men’s football, claiming that the latter is more spectacular, competitive and exciting.
There is no need to say that the detractors of women’s football must have reduced this sport to a minimum in order to reach such conclusions. Are we truly not capable of appreciating the variety of playstyles of the different teams?
What makes us think that female teams cannot reach the same level of complexity?
Some will be more aggressive or defensive. Others will pass the ball until the rival falls asleep or reach the opposite area with a strong and well-calculated kick. There will be teams which are more competitive and those that rely on their courage to survive each season.
To illustrate this point… have a look at this video to see how skilful they can be 😉
But, what do we know about women’s football? The boom of these last years is just the tip of the iceberg, since women have been working to reach this point for a long time.
Do you know what has brought us to this point? Keep reading…
Let’s take a look back to put things into perspective…
The origin of women’s football goes back to 1894. Then, a British activist (under the pseudonym Nettie Honeyball) wanted to prove women’s worth when it came to doing physical activities. That is why she founded the first women’s football club: British Ladies Football Club. Since then, this sport has evolved thanks to women who questioned the norms. In the end, playing football became an act of rebellion that meant much more than just “kicking a ball”. (Source: Marca; Sefutbol)
The persistence of these players is the soul of women’s social movements. In fact, they played more outside than inside the field. The fixtures were an act of vindication and visibility. After many years, both national and international football associations finally realized how things were changing.
Women’s Football nowadays
From that first 1970 world championship in Italy, the international competitions started to become more frequent, but not without obstacles.
Finally, the first official World Championship took place in 1991. The event was held in China and it was supported by the FIFA. From then on, we have been able to enjoy six World Championships. (Source: Sefutbol)
International women’s football led to the creation of national leagues, such as the American, Japanese, Swedish or German leagues. Little by little, we started to learn the name of promising players: Mia Hamm in the United States, Sun Wen in China, Birgit Prinz in Germany or Marta in Brazil. The latter won the FIFA World Player title for five years in a row (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
During the last few years, specially the last two, we have been able to witness the rise of outstanding international players. Everyone knows Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, players of the Reign FC and the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League (USA). This year, they have won the 2019 World Championship in France, winning the 4th star for the United States. (Source: Ellas Fútbol)
Their performance in this championship earned Megan Rapinoe several rewards during this year: the Golden Ball, Golden Boot and The Best by the FIFA. She took the chance to stand up against racism, chauvinism and homophobia in football. (Source: ABC Fútbol; La sexta)
Check it out!
A new queen is crowned 👑
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) September 23, 2019
Precisely on this World Championship, the Spanish Women’s Football Club has managed to participate in a world championship for the first time.
Where do they “jogam mais bonito”?
What are the best teams in the world? Do Brazil, Spain or Argentina stand out like they do in men’s football? The landscape in women’s football is completely different. In fact, the American team is at the head of the FIFA ranking, followed by Germany and the Netherlands.
In terms of clubs, the Olympique Lyonnais stands out with a clear advantage over the rest. The French team has some of the best female players in the world.
Spain, a football that starts to step up the game
The constant international support and recognition has made women’s football more visible in our country. In fact, the international success of the players has managed to advance in the growth of this sport during the last five years. The main objective is the professionalization of the conditions to dignify and put female players where they deserve to be.
Currently, Spain has two professional national leagues: the First Women’s Division with 16 team and the Second Women’s Division with two groups of 16 teams each. Moreover, each year, we celebrate the Queen’s Cup Tournament while the King’s Cup takes place.
— Primera Iberdrola (@PrimerIberdrola) December 6, 2019
The history of the first division has had its up and downs. Both the mechanics and the number of teams have changed several times since the beginning. Consequently, this had led to conflicts between the Real Federación Española de Fútbol, the clubs, the players and the National League of Professional Football.
From the clubs that have participated, Athletic, Barcelona FC, Levante UD and Atlético de Madrid are the ones that have won more titles in the Iberdrola League.
What is the current situation in Spain?
This sport is now evolving very quickly. In fact, teams like the Atlético de Madrid, Athletic de Bilbao or the Barcelona FC fight every year to become the champions of the Women’s First Division.
During the 18-19 season, the Atlético de Madrid won the league, while the Real Sociedad took the Queen’s Cup from the hands of the Granada team. Above all, this year we have been able to experience a massive increase in audience for the Women’s First Division, as well as the Queen’s Cup.
But you may be wondering… Where is the Real Madrid?
The level, performance and competitiveness between Spanish clubs is growing. The sponsors, broadcasters and the effort of the clubs to take women’s football to where it deserves to be speaks volumes of how positive the reaction has been.
Our most valuable asset: the players
However, we should not forget what is the fuel of the evolution of women’s football: our players are skilful, constant, full of talent and passion. In fact, seven Spanish players are among the 100 best players in the world. For example, Jenni Hermoso sits at number 25 according to The Guardian and The Offside Rule. (Source: El Confidencial)
We celebrated their achievements as if they were ours, starting with the 2018 sub-17 world championship. Spain won the title thanks to the youngest starts: Claudia Pina, Eva Navarro or Cata Coll, following the commands of Toña Is. Not to mention the European sub-21 and sub-17 this year. (Source: El País)
In 2019, we managed to classify for the World Championship, it was our chance! But it did not last long, we had to give up in the knockout stage against the current champion, the USA. Nevertheless, the performance of the Spanish team was outstanding with a 2-1 and it made a real difference in the way we perceive the most popular sport in our country. (Source: Euronews; La Vanguardia, JOTDOWN)
Controversy in Spanish Women’s Football
For fair working conditions
Without any doubt, women’s football will prosper, although it seems that the role of the players and the exponential growth of followers is not enough to ensure fair working conditions. (Source: asociacioncff.com)
— Vicky Losada (@losada_vicky) November 16, 2019
The current situation of inequality between women and men, the absence of professional work contracts, or measures to balance work and family life are some of the requirements that the players are actively demanding. In fact, this situation led to the first strike in Spanish Women’s Football in order to guarantee their salary and more rights. (Source: RTVE)
The last news seem to move towards a more positive scenario. According to the Asociación de Clubes de Fútbol Femenino (ACFF), they have managed to reach an agreement to continue negotiating in order to avoid another strike at least until the 20th December of 2019. (Source: asociacioncff.com)
The success of our players has allowed them to defend their work, quality and talent. We hope that it will be enough to encourage the professionalization of this modality that holds an even brighter future for football.
For a promising women’s football!
- 1. ABC Fútbol. El discurso reivindicativo de Megan Rapinoe: <<Llegáis un poco tarde, pero os perdonamos>>.
- 2. Andrea Menéndez Faya. El fútbol femenino en España, ¿basta con creer? JOT DOWN.
- 3. AsociacionCFF.com. Nota Informativa: acuerdo entre los sindicatos y la ACFF para continuar con las negociaciones del Convenio Colectivo.
- 4. AsociacionCFF.com. Nota informativa: convenio. 10/12/2019.
- 5. El Confidencial. Quiénes son las siete españolas que están entre las 100 mejores futbolistas del mundo. 06/12/2019.
- 6. El Español. El Real Madrid Femenino se estrenará en julio de 2020: el CD Tacón jugará en Valdebebas
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- 10. Ellas Fútbol. Cuándo nació el fútbol femenino.
- 11. Ellas Fútbol. Megan Rapinoe se corona con el Balón de Oro.
- 12. Euronews. La buena actuación de La Roja en el Mundial dispara la fiebre del fútbol femenino en España. 26/06/2019.
- 13. FIFA.com Los orígenes del fútbol femenino.
- 14. La Vanguardia. El discurso reivindicativo de Rapinoe en la gala The Best.
- 15. La Vanguardia. España-Estados Unidos: Resultados, resumen y goles del fútbol, en directo.
- 16. MARCA. Historia del fútbol femenino.
- 17. Medio Oficial Real Federación Española de Fútbol. Liga Iberdrola: ¡Nuevo Récord! Más de 60 mil personas acudieron a presenciar el Atlético de Madrid – FC Barcelona.
- 18. Sefutbol. Historia del fútbol femenino; deporte, élite y progresión.