New study highlights the difficulties female players experience to make a career in football

A new study produced by the world's players' union FIFPro in conjunction with the University of Manchester has shown that hundreds of top female players are leaving football in their early twenties to pursue a more sustainable career or start a family.

While women’s football has increased in profile in recent years, 87 percent of players surveyed say they may end up cutting short their career. Research shows teams with the best results in international tournaments are those with the higher average ages.

Nearly 3,300 elite players from 33 countries participated in the study including more than 500 from some of the world’s most developed leagues for women in England, France, Germany, Sweden and the USA.

“Our research shows how hard it is for even national-team players to make a career in football,” FIFPro General Secretary Theo van Seggelen said. “Players who devote years of their lives to get to the top of the game are surely entitled to a fairer slice of football’s revenue.”

The survey also covers salaries, contracts, career prospects, childcare support, education, health and safety, abuse in the workplace, discrimination and match-fixing, among other issues.

The preliminary results of the study were released to coincide with the climax to the women’s 2017 European Championship in the Netherlands, which ended on 6 August, and ahead of the FIFPro conference on women's football held in Dutch capital Amsterdam on 7 and 8 August. The full report is due to be released later in 2017.

Some of the key findings about active female players are:

  • 87% would consider quitting football early
  • 66% of national team players are not satisfied with tournament prize money
  • 50% are not paid by their clubs
  • 35% of national team players are not paid for representing their country

“The results of the survey are a powerful message about the difficulties female players are experiencing today,” said Caroline Jonsson, head of FIFPro’s women’s football committee.

“FIFPro is committed to working with clubs and federations to develop women’s football and give more players the chance to follow their passion for the game.”

From FIFPro

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