A FIFPRO report has concluded that uneven scheduling and a lack of competitive matches are holding back the women’s game.
The FIFPRO Player Workload Monitoring report covers the last three seasons with the data based on a sample of 85 players which includes Christiane Endler, Alexia Putellas, Crystal Dunn and Sam Kerr. The report states that throughout the 2020-2021 season the sample players took part in an average of 29 matches including friendlies and international games. The 2019-2020 season was disrupted by Covid-19 so the number drops to 22.
The report called for better scheduling of matches as players can have no games for a long period of time before suddenly playing multiple games in a short space of time. As an example, Crystal Dunn played 10 games in 57 days following a period when she had no matches in four months.
Further data shows that 14% of all minutes came in friendlies matches with a further 26% of competitive minutes being in national team games. This stat directly relates to the fact that compared to the men’s game there is a lack of international club tournaments and domestic leagues are consistently smaller.
The report suggests competition design and reform could be applied to more national and international club competitions in order to bring more opportunity and stability for players.
Outside Europe, national team players face “disjoined and often precarious” qualifying because of uneven scheduling and non-elite conditions.
In the Concacaf region, where there are no regularly organized international club competitions at the moment, six players of our sample participated in more matches for their national team than their clubs. However, there are signs of growth in club competitions, the report says, citing amongst others the success of an expanded UEFA Women’s Champions League, and the creation of Women’s Champions League competitions in both the CAF and the AFC regions.
Sarah Gregorius, FIFPRO’s Director of Policy & Strategy for Women’s Football said “We are witnessing the growth of the women’s football industry and want the game to progress as sustainably as possible. This outcome will be best achieved through evidence-based planning, which is focused on workload principles that put players at the heart of the game’s development.”