5% doesn’t seem like a lot
Last week, UEFA released a report on women’s football across its national associations, the headline figures being a rise of registered female players of 7.5% in the past year, and the number of professional and semi-professional players doubling in the last four.
There are interesting stories within the report of how much of their resources each national football association is spending on women’s football.
The FA with the highest percentage of their staff who are dedicated to women’s football is… Croatia (22 of their 56), closely followed by the Czech Republic (9 of their 26).
Only the Northern Irish and the Welsh of the Home Nations’ associations come close to this level of staff dedication to women’s football (although it should be noted that these numbers only count staff whose work is solely on the women’s game, and there may be many more employees working on women’s football part of the time who are not counted).
Both have just over 10% of their football association’s staff dedicated to working on women’s football, rates hovering around the average. The English FA will likely point to the size of their organization in explaining why only 6% of their staff are dedicated to women’s football, and they do indeed have the highest number of staff in this role (as well as the highest number of staff total, by a margin of 400).
A similar story for the English FA emerges looking at budgets. Their turnover in 2016 was £370m, compared to a budget for women’s football as stated in the UEFA report of around €15.5m. It’s not an ideal comparison, but convert both to the same currency and this is a designation of 3.7% of turnover into women’s football.
Compare this to the Welsh FA – dedicating 11 of their 100 staff to women’s football – whose women’s football budget of €1.55m would make up 6.7% of their 2016 turnover of £20.5m.
The Scottish FA has only 3.7% of their staff dedicated to football, but the budget for women’s football as given in the report would make up over 5% of their 2014 turnover (the latest that I was able to find) which, at the least, is a better share than England.
The Republic of Ireland, unfortunately, does not give its female football operations much of a big slice on either count, not surprising considering that the national team threatened to strike in April over poor conditions.
The FAI dedicate five of their 184 staff to women’s football, or just 2.7%, the second-lowest rate in Europe (if associations with zero dedicated staff, largely the smallest associations, are discounted).
Their turnover in 2015 was just over €46m, double that of Wales’ 2016 turnover, yet the share given to women’s football was only €250,000 more, the women’s game receiving just under 4% of the money coming into Irish football.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find turnover figures for the Irish FA (Northern Ireland), and trawling through the internet in various languages to find numbers for the rest of UEFA would be an immense task, but it seems a trend among the home nations that around 5% of their annual turnover goes into the women’s football budget.
Without knowing more about their finances, it is difficult to pass a confident comment on this, and the banner of “men’s football” won’t take up the whole of the rest of the money, but that 5% doesn’t seem like a lot.
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