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FIFA survey: 70% of women’s football clubs operate at a loss

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Photo of the women’s team of FC Barcelona, ​​which recently won the UEFA Champions League.

A comprehensive study of women’s football found that 70 percent of women’s football clubs internationally operate at a loss. Only 13 percent of clubs generate more than $ 1 million in revenue, and more than half of that revenue comes from sponsorship deals, according to FIFA data released Wednesday. The global governing body of football examines 30 leagues and 282 clubs for the FIFA Benchmarking Report, which seeks to identify how best to develop women’s play.

The report focuses on management, finances, the involvement of fans, players, problems on the ground and some of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. It is based on FIFA’s Global Football Strategy for Women, published in 2018.

“Women’s football is the biggest growth opportunity for football today. And to respond to these conversations, it is really important to have data, to have facts, to have an analysis of the financial, commercial context, governance structures, of all aspects of the professional football ecosystem, “said Sarah Bareman, FIFA Women’s Head. football officer.

Some of the results of the study are not surprising. Players in the championship teams were paid better than other teams in 73% of the leagues surveyed.

Better equipment has turned into better results, with 50% of the teams with the most equipment having won a league title in the last five years.

Clubs in Japan and China average more than $ 1 million in revenue, while the average for England is $ 996,000. The National Women’s Football League in the United States refused to share financial data, which was self-reported by the surveyed clubs.

Although based on the 2018-19 season, the report includes some data related to COVID-19. FIFA’s financial relief plan helped 70% of the leagues and 58% of the clubs surveyed. Less than a quarter of the teams do not expect financial consequences from the pandemic, while 76% expect varying degrees of impact.

Bareman said the goal is to conduct the study annually so that the pandemic’s impact on women’s football can be more fully explored.

“Anecdotally, 100%, we saw evidence that COVID-19 had a further impact on leagues and clubs. And we just see that through things like competitions have to be canceled, postponed, in some cases, unfortunately, resources have to be reduced, that there will be impacts. And I think what’s important to us is the next report, “Bareman said.

She noted that when FIFA published its global strategy, it aimed at each of the 211 member associations to adopt similar long-term strategies for the development of the game. FIFA now has data to support this.

“I think what’s important to note here is that for those of us who have worked in the game, we know these things anecdotally, but now we actually have data and statistics to support the knowledge we have, which is very, very important when it comes to holding, for sure, discussions about key decisions that need to be made at club and league level, ”Bareman said.

“It’s also very important when we look at the future of the game and make decisions that will affect the future of the game that we can have real data and statistics to support that.”

The data could also help guide FIFA’s decisions on the competition schedule and the development of the Women’s Club World Cup. There was also talk of holding the Men’s and Women’s World Cup every two years, not the current four.

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