How do British men see German women

Women's football: the envious look at England

Status: 04/09/2021 1:15 p.m.

On the British Isles, women's football has very different opportunities than in Germany. Also thanks to a multi-million dollar TV contract. The Bundesliga is afraid of being left behind.

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On Saturday (4.10 p.m., live on Erste), the German national team will face Australia in a friendly match in Wiesbaden. The focus of Alexandra Popp & Co is on the coming year, when the European Championship will take place in England. Women's football on the island is already causing a sensation. More and more international stars play in the Super League; in March the English association, the Football Association (FA), announced a new multi-million dollar TV contract.

Up to 66 league games live

The news from March means nothing less than a revolution in women's football: In England, "Sky" and the "BBC" have secured extensive TV rights to the FA Women's Super League from the coming season. The new rights holders pay a total of around ten million euros per season. The public service broadcaster will show 22 games live, most of them in the programs BBC 1 and BBC 2. The pay-TV broadcaster "Sky" promises up to 44 broadcasts, some of them at prime time.

"You can only be jealous," says Bianca Rech, sports director of the soccer players of FC Bayern Munich, the NDR. "This is an absolute milestone and there is nothing like it in women's football so far. The English clubs will gain huge visibility and that means that we will lag even further behind in Germany."

Growth strategy with women's football professional league

Since the "Lionesses" took third place at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, there has been steady progress in women's football on the island. After the tournament, the FA presented a growth strategy with the "Gameplan for Growth". The number of female soccer players should be increased significantly from the junior level onwards, and the performance of the selection teams should be increased. The association also set ambitious goals for the development of audience numbers and marketing. It appears that these have been fulfilled on many levels. A financial company was won as a league sponsor and the Super League is the only professional women's football league in Europe.

Old Trafford instead of amateur courses

The Manchester United footballers played for the first time at the famous Old Trafford stadium at the end of March.

An important sign came from Manchester at the end of March: United's footballers played against West Ham for the first time at the famous Old Trafford stadium - while in Germany many Bundesliga stadiums resemble an amateur pitch. For Ralf Kellermann, sporting director at VfL Wolfsburg, this is a nuisance. "I've been saying for years that we need significantly stricter admission criteria for the league. We need a decent infrastructure, decent floodlights, media workstations and much more. Only then can we present and market our product in such a way that the television stations find a taste for it. "

Not all clubs in Germany are economically in a position to upgrade in this way, some might not be able to compete in the Bundesliga with more demanding infrastructure requirements. This is regrettable, says Kellermann. However: "Even the traditional clubs without ties to a licensed club from the men's Bundesliga must meet the requirements. Of course, the goal must be to take all clubs with us when it comes to advancing the league. But there have been exceptions long enough."

Only a few female professionals in Germany

In England, the top teams in the Super League are backed by large and world-famous clubs. The top of the table is currently Chelsea FC, defeated Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The German national player Melanie Leupolz moved from Munich to London last summer: "Everything here is very, very professional. We have a huge staff. There are also an immense number of conditions that clubs have to meet in order to play in the first division. And that makes the whole league look much more professional than the German women's Bundesliga. No player is allowed to work on the side. "

In Germany, on the other hand, there are only a few female professionals apart from the top teams. "That would also be a milestone for us," says Rech. "That you don't have to worry about whether a team can play a competitive game in the afternoon or not because then five players still have to do their job."

English league equalized

Another difference: In England the league is more competitive than in Germany, the games are also more exciting for the spectators, says Leupolz. "Even smaller teams can always score points against the big ones and always have goal opportunities. That makes the game attractive, of course."

Thiago Silva agrees. The Brazilian superstar is under contract with Chelsea's men's team and regularly shows himself to his 17 million Instagram followers as TV viewers at the games of the female colleagues. There are group photo shoots of players and when the Manchester United women competed at Old Trafford, United States icon Marcus Rashford tweeted: "They are exactly where they deserve to play." German female soccer players would also like this kind of recognition.

Kellermann: The Bundesliga cannot keep up financially

The English league is also radiant thanks to stars from the US national team. With Tobin Heath, Samantha Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Christen Press, four 2019 world champions are under contract in England. There are also familiar faces such as the Australian Samantha Kerr or the Danish national player and former Wolfsburg top scorer Pernille Harder. "It is very clear that we cannot compete economically with the English clubs," said Wolfsburgs Kellermann. "If a top player goes from VfL to Chelsea or Manchester City, she can more than double her salary."

Bundesliga clubs are demanding better marketing

The new television contract will increase the differences. German clubs have long been demanding better marketing from the DFB, which currently guarantees the twelve Bundesliga clubs 300,000 euros per season through central marketing. Rech states: "But nothing really happens. However, it is not just the DFB that is required. Television contracts have also been concluded. Those who have bought rights must ensure that they show us, give us visibility. And ultimately all clubs must also contribute to making the league more attractive. "

The European Championship in England next year means a big stage. In 2019, a friendly match between England and Germany (1: 2) attracted almost 80,000 spectators to London's Wembley Stadium, the tournament can be a great opportunity to make women's football more popular. Not only on the island for a long time. The German clubs could also benefit.

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Sport current | 04/10/2021 | 4:10 p.m.