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Broadcast rights key to growing women's football, says FIFA report

WOMEN IN SPORTS By Reuters | May 28th 2021
Football - Women's World Cup - Group F - United States v Thailand - Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France - June 11, 2019. Alex Morgan of the U.S. celebrates scoring their twelfth goal with Megan Rapinoe. [REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo]

Broadcasting rights represent a significant growth area for women's soccer, with broadcast income currently accounting for an average of just 6% of clubs' total revenue, world governing body FIFA said in a report published on Wednesday.

The report analyses the women's football landscape through survey results from 30 leagues and 282 clubs in six key areas: sporting, governance, finance, fan engagement, players and COVID-19.

Leagues that negotiate broadcasting rights exclusively for women's soccer generate, on average, higher revenue compared with leagues that do not, the report found.

The report also found sponsorship to be a significant revenue driver for women's clubs, accounting for more than half the total revenue of the biggest-earning teams.

"This report provides key insights into the reality of the women's game (and) the many opportunities and challenges, on and off the pitch for players, clubs and leagues around the world," FIFA's chief women's football officer Sarai Bareman said.

"Whilst the progress and FIFA's commitment to the women's game is clear, more can still be done across football to... ensure a strong and sustainable ecosystem for the whole of women's football."

Sudan's Minister of Sport Wala Essam (R) greets players from Tahadi ahead of the Sudanese Women Football League match between Tahadi and Difanin, in the capital Khartoum on September 30, 2019. - Sudan's first ever women's club football league kicked off, with two teams clashing at a Khartoum stadium as crowds of fans and diplomats cheered. [Photo by Ashraf SHAZLY / AFP]

Standalone clubs tend to generate higher revenue than clubs affiliated with a men's team, the study showed, while a significant number of affiliated women's teams rely on subsidies from their owners or the men's team to cover losses.

Women's teams that have access to better training facilities and those with a youth team structure have the best on-field results, the study says, with the level of qualification of coaches also having a direct bearing on results.

"Boosting the development and growth of women's football -– on and off the pitch –- is a key commitment and top priority for FIFA," the governing body's president, Gianni Infantino, said.

"By working together and embracing the challenges and exciting opportunities that lie ahead, I strongly believe we can bring women's football to more people around the world and make it truly global." 

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