Press releases 3rd August 2017

Elite female athletes quitting before their prime

Hundreds of top female players are leaving football in their early twenties to pursue a more sustainable career or start a family, a new FIFPro study has found. While women’s football has increased in profile in recent years, 87 percent of players surveyed by FIFPro 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 FIFPro study including more than 500 from some of the world’s most developed leagues for women in England, France, Germany, Sweden and the USA. The full report is due to be released later in 2017 in conjunction with the University of Manchester, England. FIFPro is releasing preliminary results to coincide with the climax to the women’s 2017 European Championship in the Netherlands, which concludes this Sunday, August 6.

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

FIFPro women’s football conference, August 7-8

FIFPro is hosting a two-day women’s football conference, August 7-8, at its headquarters near Amsterdam airport, where further details from the first-ever FIFPro global survey of working conditions for female players will be unveiled. Thirty active female players from all over the globe, with a combined total of over 1500 international appearances, will be in attendance.

• This media release was originally published by the International Federation of Professional Footballers Associations (FIFPro) on 3 August. To access the original, please click here.

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