2019 was a momumental year for women’s football. The sport will always remember FIFA’s World Cup held in France, which boasted over one billion viewers in 206 countries. One million tickets were also sold, and the average stadium attendance exceeded 75%.
All around the world, from Australia to America, from Britain to Spain, women’s football gained ground thanks, not only to the players’ skills, but also their tenacity. The Australian women’s team, the Matildas, struck a historic deal which will see the players put on an equal pay scale as their male counterparts. The women’s team is ranked 8th in the world, while the men’s, the Socceroos, hold the 44th position. Why then did it take the Matildas such a tough fight to be finally granted equal pay?
On the other side of the world, the four time winners of the World Cup, the United States, did not enjoy such luck when it came to winning salary battles. They have had to resort to lawsuits in order to do so. Surprisingly, in this case too, the women’s team has been more successful than their male counterparts; the men’s best finish on the international stage was in 1930, when they came third. Yet, despite these blatant, stunning facts, males once again come off financially better than their female counterparts.
Crossing the Atlantic to Great Britain, Barclay’s Bank unveiled a multimillion pound sponsorship deal in March for a newly professional Women’s Super League. Another well known company, Boots, joined in the campaign by agreeing to a three year partnership with the five football associations in the British Isles. The company, which has been promoting women’s beauty products for over 170 years, has finally decided to support and promote women’s football. This, it is doing by creating unparalleled levels of exposure through its 2,500 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
In 2019, Visa aslo made a landmark commtiment to play their part in ensuring that the women’s game got the same standing, recognition and appreciation as that of men. Nike jumped on the bandwagon too by promising to use its brand as a catalyst to support and inspire future generations of young girls and women.
In Spain, history was made when Atletico Madrid hosted a match against Barcelona, attracting a record 60,739 fans to the stadium. The country did not stop their in contributing to the progress that 2019 brought to the beautiful game for women. The first ever collective bargaining was signed after 14 months, 16 days, 29 meetings and a strike supported by a wide majority of players. This particular agreement will be of utmost interest to other countries when developing female leagues.
Without any doubt, 2019 saw many milestones made around the world in women’s football. The female footballers did not let their fans down and vice versa. We can only hope that 2020 will hail many more advances made in the same direction.