La semana pasada 91,553 aficionados se reunieron en el Camp Nou para presenciar el partido por los cuartos de final de la Women’s Champions League entre el Barcelona FC y Real Madrid Femenino. Esta asistencia se convirtió en un récord para un juego de futbol femenino profesional, por delante de los 90.185 que asistieron a la final del Mundial de 1999 entre Estados Unidos y China. Este hito confirmó una vez más el desarrollo profesional y comercial del futbol femenino en las últimas dos décadas; sin embargo, también trajo al tapete la larga discusión sobre el camino que le queda recorrer a la FIFA, Federaciones y clubes para que escenarios parecidos a estos se conviertan en algo cotidiano más que extraordinario. En este artículo, les hablaré sobre el estado actual del futbol femenino mundial, y sobre las metas que los organismos rectores de este deporte esperan alcanzar en el futuro cercano.
Last week 91,553 fans gathered at Camp Nou for the Women's Champions League quarterfinal match between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid Femenino. This was a record attendance for a professional women's soccer game, surpassing the 90,185 that attended the 1999 World Cup final between the United States and China. This milestone confirmed once again the professional and commercial development of women's soccer over the past two decades; however, it also raised the long-standing discussion about what else needs to be made for women's soccer to be more popular. In this article, I will talk to you about the current state of women's soccer worldwide, and the goals that the sport's governing bodies hope to achieve in the near future.
UN HITO HISTÓRICO: LA AFICIÓN CULÉ BRINDA UN GRAN RECONOCIMIENTO A LAS REINAS DEL FUTBOL EUROPEO
A HISTORIC MILESTONE: CULÉ FANS PAY TRIBUTE TO THE QUEENS OF EUROPEAN SOCCER
For the Barcelona FC men's first team, 2021 proved to be a year to forget. In terms of the club's economy, the club's finances were bankrupt and there was bad management in the signing and contracts of some players; likewise, in terms of team's game results, they had lost their game-making fluency and effectiveness. They were boring when they played, and suffered from the big defeats. To complete this gloomy picture, Lionel Messi, the club's top star left (or he was urged to leave ) the club, leaving all the Culés incredulous and sunk in sadness. However, parallel to this reality, a team was dazzling with its beautiful game, goals and titles: it was the Barcelona Femeni of Alexia Putellas, Lieke Martens, Aitana Bonmatí, among others.
Barcelona Femení signed the best year in its history in 2021, having won the triplet of titles it disputed: the Iberdrola Queen's Cup, the League and the Champions League. Not only that, they won these titles by dazzling with their beautiful game and beating almost all their rivals. Last year, Barsa Women totally dominated Spanish and European soccer, and this year they aim to repeat the same feat, as they have already secured the La Liga title, which they have already won with several rounds still to be played. In addition to this, Alexia Putellas and Lieke Martens won the Ballon d'Or and The Best respectively, being these the highest individual awards to which a female soccer player can aspire.
The night of March 30, was a night in which the Culer fans had the opportunity to give a standing ovation to the talent of their players, their awards and the bet of professionalization made by the club for this team. The first team players are currently the club's greatest pride and on that day the fans showed it by attending and filling the Camp Nou.
The fans' enthusiasm for the team is such that another full house is expected for the semi-final game against Wolfsburg in the UEFA Women's Champions League. Love pays with love. That's what they say in my hometown.
¿QUE MÁS SE DEBE MEJORAR PARA QUE LO EXTRAORDINARIO SE VUELVA COTIDIANO EN EL FUTBOL FEMENINO?
WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY TO BECOME AN EVERYDAY OCCURRENCE IN WOMEN'S SOCCER?
The success of Barcelona Femení in Spain, as well as that of Olympique Lyonnais in France, Wolfsburg in Germany or the women's national soccer team in the United States, among other clubs and national teams, reflect years of work and money invested in the formation of grassroots soccer through federations and associations and in the professionalization of the discipline by the clubs. Barsa, for example, bet on the professionalization of women's soccer section in 2015 , being one of the pioneers in Spain; and, in addition to this, created lower categories for the training of young players , following the same concept of La Masia. Not to mention the school soccer popularization project carried out in the United States, which has brought the results we already know.
Without this huge investment of money and human material, women's soccer would not have reached the place it is today: greater popularity and dissemination of both national team and club competitions; improvement in the salary and employment status of women players; more and bigger contracts with major sponsors and greater active participation of women as coaches, doctors, members of associations, etc. We have come a long way, but as I mentioned at the beginning, there is still a long way to go before there are more Alexias, more Martas and more Hegerbers in world soccer.
¿CUAL ES EL PAPEL DE LA FIFA EN EL DESARROLLO DEL FUTBOL FEMENINO?
WHAT IS FIFA'S ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN'S SOCCER?
En este aspecto, la FIFA , el organismo rector de la disciplina lleva a cabo un plan para el desarrollo de la disciplina que denominan ESTRATEGIA. Este plan de acción tiene como meta principal lograr la masificación del juego hasta posicionarlo comercial y económicamente en todo el mundo. Para lograr esta meta, La FIFA apunta al trabajo directo con clubes, asociaciones y federaciones de futbol.
In this aspect, FIFA, the governing body of the discipline carries out a plan for the development of the discipline that they call STRATEGY. The main goal of this plan of action is to achieve the massive expansion of the game to the point of positioning it commercially and economically throughout the world. To achieve this goal, FIFA aims to work directly with clubs, associations and soccer federations.
One of the main objectives is to diversify the categories, divisions and championships of women's soccer, as well as to give them greater visibility. As is the case with men's soccer, FIFA seeks to encourage clubs and associations to have teams in lower divisions. Thus, a 12-year-old girl can compete in various categories until she reaches senior and professional levels. The aim is to ensure that girls and young women do not "get lost along the way". In the photo below, you can see how the Uruguayan Soccer Association has several categories in its women's soccer section. Unfortunately, this, for example, has not materialized in Venezuela.
Given the success and popularity of the Women's World Cup, the FiFA is looking to give greater exposure to regional qualifying cups or championships (U-17; U-20; Copa America, etc.), as well as World Cups. This exposure of the game and the best players would undoubtedly attract a large number of girls and young women to play soccer. In South America, for example, the South American U-20 championship to be played in Chile is about to begin. Let's hope that the Venezuelan girls will do well.
Following the model applied in the United States, FIFA, together with the federations of each country, also aims to develop school soccer. To this end, this plan contemplates financial and logistical support to achieve this goal. Finally, this program seeks to provide adequate qualification to increase the number of qualified female coaches and referees. These and other objectives make up this plan that seeks to develop women's soccer both on and off the field.
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