Coronavirus: Worrying times for women’s football says Arsenal’s Little

Kim Little of Arsenal and Laura Vetterlein of West Ham battle it out (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Kim Little of Arsenal and Laura Vetterlein of West Ham battle it out (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Arsenal Women’s captain Kim Little feels players will be left in vulnerable positions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Little was speaking after the latest FIFPRO report raised concerns for the women’s game amid the global crisis.

Talking to Reuters, Little said: “Because of the stage the female game is at, the circumstances a lot of players work in are very unstable in the sense of contracts aren’t particularly long.

“Some players have to work another job because financially they can’t just live off their footballing wage.”

In the report released last week, FIFPRO said women’s football was especially exposed to the crisis due to its less-established professional leagues, lower salaries, narrower scope of opportunities, uneven sponsorship deals and less corporate investment.

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“FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said: “It is a massive hit to the game absolutely and we must also understand it’s not just the big tournaments.”

The report also called for more investment in women’s football and the creation of ‘working environments whereby players are not exploited, their rights are valued, and they are accorded full respect’.

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It said women’s football should have ‘priority access to facilities, times and situations that enable fans to attend games, sponsors to drive revenue, broadcasters to reach wide audiences, and players to perform in optimal conditions’.

Little added: “Our game is still progressing, it’s moving forward and that’s great that it is progressing but it also means when there’s times that are difficult and situations like right now, we are slightly unstable and a lot of players are in vulnerable positions.”

FIFPRO also raised concerns the progress of the women’s game could be undone as the sport is at a standstill.

“We stand with footballers, their families, and all of our loved ones around the world as together we battle Covid-19 and its impacts,” said FIFPRO chief women’s football officer Amanda Vandervort.

“We recognise the many complex implications of this shutdown on the women’s game, and together we must address them head on.

“We have an opportunity to make much-needed structural changes which can benefit football as a whole. Let’s take advantage of this moment to support players and create a stable industry for the future.”

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