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COVID-19 Threatens Women’s Football

FIFPRO, the world players’ union for football, has released a paper warning the growth of professional women’s football is threatened by the implications of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and the sector faces “an almost existential threat.”

The report comes from FIFPRO’s paper, COVID-19: Implications for Professional Women’s Football, where it is made clear unless there is adequate support for leagues, clubs and players, the current economic standstill could ultimately result in insolvencies of otherwise profitable and stable clubs across many markets.

FIFPRO also state, the absence of basic worker protections and global industry standard for working conditions in women’s football also mean the livelihoods of female players are extremely vulnerable.

FIFPRO general secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, said football stakeholders must work together to mitigate the damage of the Coronavirus.

“We’re in unprecedented times and we have a responsibility as a global football community to come together and support our industry,” Baer-Hoffman said.

“If clubs, leagues and national team competitions start going out of business, they may be gone forever.

“Our ultimate goal must be not only to stop this happening, but to build a more solid foundation for the future,” he said.

Included in the full report were recommendations for an open, collaborative approach among stakeholders, appreciating the view of the players in establishing solutions during the crisis.

FIFPRO recommended the international football community should prioritise player care, health, safety and well-being in all decision-making processes, apply special financial measures and conditions for female players, clubs and competitions where necessary, ensure that pre-crisis investments are secured and are not withdrawn from the women’s game so that it can sustain and potentially build momentum, and develop systems of solidarity and support in the football industry to help ensure the women’s game doesn’t suffer extreme damage.

FIFPRO chief women’s football officer, Amanda Vandervort, said this crisis caused by the Coronavirus can and should be seen as a unique opportunity to make structural changes that can benefit football as a whole internationally.

“We stand with footballers, their families and all of our loved ones around the world as together we battle COVID-19 and its impacts,” Vandervort said.

“We recognise the many complex implications of this shutdown on the women’s game, and together we must address them head on.

“We have an opportunity to make much-needed structural changes which can benefit football as a whole.

“Let’s take advantage of this moment to support players and create a stable industry for the future,” she said.

To read the full report from FIFPRO, COVID-19: Implications for Professional Women’s Football, click here.