As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption and damage to the women’s game, it has left a very uncertain future for everyone involved.
“Quite rightly, people are going to be concerned about their own positions given the pandemic, and the fear is that we lose some of those people to the women’s game.”
This comment was made in September 2020 by UK Coaching chief executive Mark Gannon.
What has changed since? Nothing much other than the fact that more and more money is being lost every week due to lack of gate receipts at matches.
Organisations have big responsibilities to save women’s football at all levels
The likes of the FA have been one of the few major influential organisations when it comes to the promotion of women’s football in recent years.
Crystal Palace captain Rio Rosenberg outlines the short-term plan that the FA need to adopt, to help the women’s game get back on its feet again.
Rosenberg said: “Obviously it’s hard because we haven’t had access to Covid testing. I think that’s the biggest reason why many league teams can’t continue playing during the lockdown.
“I think the biggest thing the FA need to do is continuing to do these initiatives to get more women and girls playing football.
“I know it’s hard because of the uncertainty, but we haven’t had any information from the league about if they are going to start again.
“In terms of investment, it will come with time.”
How has women’s football being affected at a local level? (CTLFC)
Cheltenham Town Ladies were having a great start to the 2020/21 season, despite all the stop-start scenarios that came about due to the national lockdowns.
This new lockdown though has come at the worst possible time, especially considering the Robinesses were due to play Portsmouth Women in the second-round proper of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. A game which would have meant a lot for the club financially.
Media manager Dan Lodge gave an insight into how the club are coping financially during this pandemic.
“At the moment I think we’re ok,” Lodge revealed. “We did quite well in the early part of the season bringing in new sponsors, and we’ve had interest from a couple recently, so I think we’re getting by.”
” If we were professional it would be a very different situation, so I think we’ll be ok (survival).”
Coin Toss theory not helping in the battle for equality
Despite all the money issues which currently haunt the women’s game, the current and future of women’s football has also taken a hit during this pandemic.
FA Cup second round ties were due to take place on the weekend commencing January 2, with Cheltenham Town Ladies being pencilled in to take on Portsmouth Women on the 3rd.
However, with the new national lockdown imposed after Christmas, it meant all non-elite sport had to be postponed.
`Instead of waiting for lockdown to be over to fulfil the tie, the FA discussed the idea of all second round ties being decided be a coin toss.
“The coin toss issue regarding the Women’s FA Cup was just ridiculous,” Rosenberg said. “It takes us back a few steps.”
The 18-year-old went on to add: “Things still need to change.”
It will be an anxious wait for many to see how women’s football as a whole react after this pandemic.
But if the initiatives and funding from the FA continue in the same way before the pandemic like Rosenberg mentioned, then many women’s teams will survive.