As the world of sport gradually starts getting back to us seeing action on the pitch, as opposed to action off it, spare a thought for the vast majority of women’s sports that are still not taking place at this present moment in time.
The Government and major governing bodies have been warned that a decade of progress in women’s sports are at risk if they do not urgently address a potential summer of no competitions.
While Premier League football will return in the middle of next month and men’s rugby and cricket currently finalising plans to return, women’s football, rugby and netball seasons have all been cancelled.
Women’s cricketers and hockey players are still in limbo, waiting to see what is left of international schedules, while there has been no women’s team sport since March 14th with no immediate prospect of a return.
By contrast, in Germany the Women’s Bundesliga resumed on Friday and there are plans in place in the USA for women’s football to restart in June.
There has been no elite women’s football in England for more than 90 days. This could extend to as much as six months pending a decision on whether this seasons Women’s Champions League and FA Cup can be concluded.
With record domestic crowds in the past few seasons and a major sponsorship deal with Barclays, is now unfortunately threatening to end with a whimper.
The new WSL season is provisionally set to begin in September, but this could well not happen due to the present pandemic.
Although the majority of WSL clubs have endorsed the decision by the FA to cancel the league, the general feeling remains that the governing body and the Premier League could have done more to ensure the return of women’s football. It certainly seems that the men’s version of the game is clearly taken priority at the moment. Which is a pity as the momentum in women’s sport overall has been on an all-time high.
It has been a dismal year for women’s rugby. The Premier 15’s had to be paused in January for the Six Nations, with the game struggling before the pandemic hit. When the coronavirus really hit the country, all Premier 15’s activity was suspended.
In cricket it has been a case of the England Men’s International game taking priority over the ladies, with £280 million on the line this is fully understandable. This in mind, couldn’t the ECB set aside something for the women’s game to continue?
Netball is certainly the sport set to lose the most momentum by virtually having its whole season cancelled.
This time last year, the country was preparing to host the World Cup in Liverpool, on the back of the success of the England netball team in the 2018 Commonwealth title in Australia, which sent participation levels in grass roots of the sport to record highs.
In Hockey. GB’s long-time partner International Bank Investic declined to renew its deal, which means that after August the national teams and the domestic league will have no sponsor.
Summing up, as men’s sport clamours to restart, it seems that the women’s teams are being abandoned, which isn’t good for the sport with little finances coming into the various sports. Subsequently, it could mean that some sports may have to go back to their amateur roots once again.
Article written by Peter Moore