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Coronavirus: FIFPro calls for 'special measures' to protect threatened women's game

5 months ago
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Women's football was on an unprecedented high after last year's World Cup, but coronavirus threatens clubs and players, FIFPro warns.

FIFPro has warned women's football could be facing an "almost existential threat" because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The world players' union says extra efforts are required to sustain the women's game, explaining careers were "fragile at best, and short and sporadic in nature" even before COVID-19 hit.

With the toll of the global health crisis, FIFPro says the situation is more worrying than ever, pointing out the average player contract lasts just one year in women's football.

In a report published on Thursday, it said: "The current situation is likely to present an almost existential threat to the women’s game if no specific considerations are given to protect the women’s football industry.

"Due to its less established professional leagues, low salaries, narrower scope of opportunities, uneven sponsorship deals and less corporate investment, the fragility of the women’s football eco-system is exposed by the current situation.

"The lack of written contracts, the short-term duration of employment contracts, the lack of health insurance and medical coverage, and the absence of basic worker protections and worker’s rights leaves many female players—some of whom were already teetering on the margins—at great risk of losing their livelihoods."

The Women's World Cup last year brought the game a global audience and led to a growth in interest, but already the 2021 Women's European Championship is facing being pushed back a year, given the postponement by 12 months of the men's Euro 2020 tournament.

That deals a blow to hopes of being able to build swiftly on momentum stemming from the Women's World Cup.

FIFPro says the women's game "needs special measures" during the coronavirus period, warning that "otherwise profitable and stable" clubs could collapse, also saying players based outside their home countries are facing "extremely unsettling" times.

The global body says it is "essential" that leading players should benefit from compensation stemming from postponement of events such as the Olympics and international tournaments.

Its report, titled Covid-19: Implications for Professional Women's Football, says the "ultimate goal must be to not only to limit damage to our industry, but to build a more solid foundation".

FIFPRO chief women's football officer Amanda Vandervort said: "We recognise the many complex implications of this shutdown on the women's game, and together we must address them head on."

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