Fifpro says women need more games to avoid growing performance gap between nations

July 29 – Players’ union Fifpro has said that female footballers need to play more matches to prevent the gap between the best teams and the rest from getting bigger. 

In a report, the union analysed the number of minutes that each nation’s squad played in the season leading up to the Euro 2022 tournament. In most women’s leagues, the report detailed, “a player could play a maximum of only 22 games, which can make continued professional development challenging”.

“Some players in the Euros aren’t playing enough,” said Sarah Gregorius director of global policy and strategic relations for women’s football at Fifpro.

“I think one really telling statistic is that England, for example, played 45% more matches in the last year than Northern Ireland. So I think even in women’s football among the best 16 teams in Europe, there is still a gap.”

Fifpro pointed at the women’s Champion League as an avenue for playing more matches and the report showed that players from Germany, France, Spain and Sweden played the most European club games. Three of those nations reached the last four of Euro 2022.

Finalists England did not have as many players in European competition but their squad averaged the joint most minutes played as a result of there being two domestic cup competitions in the country.

“There are still vastly different levels of preparedness coming into the tournament,” said Gregorius. “We still need to improve on those countries and on those domestic leagues in particular and how we grow them to make sure that if they’re competing on the same stage, the level in which they can prepare is somewhat equalised or a little bit more equitable across the board.

“Otherwise, unfortunately you’re going to end up in a situation where the gap just continues to grow and gets bigger and bigger because we are focusing on only one part of the elite pyramid.”

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