Football World Cup: breakthrough for women’s sport?

The Spanish team won the Women’s World Cup final 1-0 against England yesterday. Many are hoping that the tournament, which was held in Australia and New Zealand, will be a breakthrough for professional women’s football, and the media have reported record viewing figures. Europe’s press sees room for improvement and takes issue with a kiss. (ES) /

Embarrassing performance by the men criticises the behaviour of the coach of the Spanish national team, Jorge Vilda, and the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales:

“In an otherwise perfect final, what was most jarring was the images and statements of the only two male protagonists of the day after the victory, Jorge Vilda and Luis Rubiales. Luis Rubiales’ hugs bordered on groping and this culminated in his kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth. ... On top of that, Jorge Vilda was incapable of saying ‘we are world champions’ in the feminine and expressed it all in a masculine plural that one sensed was meant as a masculine singular.”

Raquel Marcos Oliva
Público (PT) /

Professionalisation is the key

In Público, football coach Mariana Cabral praises the efforts of Spain and England for women’s football:

“The most notable investments of recent years in Europe were made in England and Spain, the same two teams that reached the World Cup finals. The former, the European champions, probably have the best league on the continent, restructured by the English Football Association with strong support from the biggest clubs; the latter introduced a 100 percent professional league last season and already have a long history of success at the youth level. ... The road to the top of the world is within reach, but not without investment, planning and intensive preparation.”

Mariana Cabral
Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Successful PR for Fifa

Fifa can certainly see itself as a big winner of this World Cup, comments Deutschlandfunk:

“In Australia and New Zealand, image enhancement was carried out with great success: instead of rainbow flags and human rights violations the talk was of football euphoria and equal rights for four weeks down under. Record viewing figures and ticket sales indicate that Fifa’s marketing strategy was a complete success. Women’s football as a product is now working not only in Europe but in all parts of the world. Fifa President Gianni Infantino uses it as a stage to present himself as a great women’s rights activist.”

Raphael Späth
Malta Today (MT) /

Female coaches never just right

Malta Today criticises that only 12 of the teams have women coaches and examines potential reasons for this:

“When female coaches act in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes (for example, when they are nurturing), they are often viewed as less competent coaches. However, when female coaches act in ways that are inconsistent with gender stereotypes — meaning assertive and decisive — they’re considered unfeminine. As such, they are never ‘just right’. The second element relates to the high competence threshold — women coaches in elite sport face higher expected standards but lower pay than male coaches.”

Pete Holmes
The Spectator (GB) /

Less public interest means less money

The much criticised gap in pay between female and male professional football players has little to do with discrimination, argues columnist Philip Patrick in The Spectator:

“Nobody, I think, would dispute the proposition that women should get the same percentage of the revenue generated by their sport as the men do. But that is, at the moment at least, going to be considerably different. That may not be exactly fair, and it is, strictly speaking, an inequality, but it is not evidence of prejudice or discrimination. It may be possible to imagine a time when the women’s game is as popular with the public as the men’s but that looks still to be far distant.”

Philip Patrick