Romain Rouillard / Photo credit: NIGEL KEENE / PROSPORTSIMAGES / DPPI VIA AFP 18:30 p.m., November 29, 2023

The International Federation of Professional Footballers' Associations (Fifpro) has delivered a report highlighting the difficulties faced by female footballers who participated in the 2023 World Cup, held last summer in Australia and New Zealand. In particular, he points to problems with timing and pay.

The 2023 Women's World Cup, held last summer in Australia and New Zealand, was the one of all records in terms of television audience and stadium attendance. Yet, women's football still faces a mountain of difficulties, as revealed in a report by Fifpro, the International Federation of Professional Footballers' Associations.

To draw up these conclusions, the body was able to collect the testimony of players from 26 teams, out of the 32 that participated in the competition. This gives rise to significant problems of "preparation, recovery and compensation". In detail, 66% of those surveyed believe that their physical condition was not optimal at the start of the tournament, thus highlighting the difficulties linked to the "schedule" of matches, according to Fifpro.

'Mentally draining'

In addition, just over half of the players surveyed (53%) consider their rest time insufficient before their first World Cup match, but also between the end of the tournament and the resumption of club competitions. Six out of ten players feel that they did not have adequate recovery time before returning to training. A break of "less than two weeks" for 86% of the players, writes the body, which recommends "a four-week off-season break, with a six-week retraining period".


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This configuration was impossible to implement this year, as Fifa had chosen to postpone the organisation of the World Cup, the final of which was played on 20 August, by a few weeks. A date on which the players are, traditionally, in the middle of summer preparation with their clubs. Switching from one to the other was "mentally exhausting", according to one player, quoted by Fifpro.

The survey also highlights the remuneration granted to players, which appears to be inadequate. Of the players who have played in the World Cup, 33% earn less than $30,000 a year and one in five are forced to supplement their income with a job on the side of football.

Mental health deficiencies

Finally, Fifpro warns about the conditions of transport and care faced by the main stakeholders. As a result, only 80% of them made their return journey in business class. An unthinkable figure in the world of men's football. "10% of the players did not undergo a medical examination before the competition and, worryingly, 22% did not undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG), even though these two examinations are provided for in the Fifa regulations for competitions," says Fifpro. And in terms of mental health, gaps persist since 60% of the players have not benefited from support in this area.

"Players need an environment that supports their overall well-being, from mental health to competitive conditions, so they have the opportunity to perform at their best in matches," said Dr Alex Culvin, Head of Strategy and Research for Women's Football at Fifpro.