by Nia Griffiths
In Faye White’s Sunday piece for the Guardian, the former England defender highlighted the improvement seen in the attitude toward women’s football after World Cup Canada 2015 and touches on the positive repercussions this could have for the game.
During a successful run for England in the World Cup, which saw them get knocked out by Japan in the semi-final in heartbreaking fashion, audiences for the sport sky-rocketed.
“This has the chance to be a turning point for women’s football and it is important that the increased interest and goodwill are not allowed to fade,” she says.
White goes on to explain how just because the defeat to Japan is fresh and raw, we mustn’t suddenly forget about it just because the wounds heal.
The former defender brought up the impressive stat that 2.4 million people tuned in to the semi-final – a massive improvement and points out how even if only a small fraction of this figure goes to support their local, or preferred, women’s team, this can make a huge difference to the game as a whole.
She adds, “There is an opportunity to win thousands of new supporters and, crucially, there is also a chance for clubs to attract some serious sponsorship.”
White is totally right and, as she goes on to say, the numbers are there – the interest is there. This has now been proven. Simply by showing the match on the BBC – a main channel that most people can get access to – it’s been shown that people do want to watch women’s football.
Sponsorship is crucial in women’s football because the funding and backing isn’t there in the same way it is for the men’s. Many clubs, even big name clubs in women’s football, rely on this financial backing to stay afloat. The clubs need money to introduce new players and keep existing ones so that they can compete in tournaments as big as the World Cup.
A particularly profound sentence that I wanted to pick out from the piece is, “These are wonderful role models: honest young women who would give anything to play for the Three Lionesses.”
They are more than deserving.