Fifa World Cup plans ‘profoundly detrimental’, say top women’s leagues


United States players hold up the World Cup
The United States are the current World Cup holders after winning the 2019 tournament

Staging a men’s World Cup every two years would be “profoundly detrimental” and “fundamentally alter the course and development of the women’s game”, says a joint statement from Uefa and 10 of Europe’s women’s leagues.

Co-signed by England’s Women’s Super League, the statement lays out possible negative impacts of Fifa’s plans.

It says “careful reflection” is needed after a “very selective consultation”.

The leagues are calling for an “open forum” to discuss proposals.

They say they have a “progressive mindset” towards the game’s development but add that care is required, given the “women’s football ecosystem is growing at pace but has not fully matured”.

In September men’s leagues confirmed their opposition to Fifa’s plans, which would mean the women’s World Cup taking place in the same summer as a major men’s tournament.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is leading a group looking at the men’s game, while ex-United States coach Jill Ellis is overseeing an advisory group working on proposals for the women’s game.

Fifa’s plan may also result in a clash between World Cups and the Olympic Games – a significant event in the women’s calendar.

The joint statement lists 13 possible consequences of reducing the time between World Cups, including:

  • Reducing the visibility and growth of women’s competitions because of congestion in the men’s calendar
  • Placing strain on resources for women’s national team players as they are focused on men’s competitions
  • Greater risk of physical injury and mental health impacts because of “more concentrated matches”
  • Interrupting professionalisation and investment due to “a saturation of markets”, meaning women’s football may not be financially viable
  • Reducing opportunities for developing nations, who may not have the resources to compete so regularly

As well as England’s WSL and Women’s Championship, the statement was signed by Uefa, the European Club Association, and leagues in Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.



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