On a casual Twitter stroll on Dec 7th, I came across a tweet by @since71Blog
Here it reads: “We’re saddened to have been told that our accreditation has been removed by a @BarclaysFAWSL club for their upcoming games. The reason being that they are no longer providing accreditation for ‘supporter or fan accounts’ and ‘this is to be a consistent approach going forward.’” – https://since-71.com/
First of all, absolute bonkers!
This is a decision that does not only potentially hurt the fans that support the team and women’s football in general, but one that also hurts the club and sets a dangerous precedent.
According to theconversation.com, “researchers have looked into the proportion of coverage allotted to women’s sport by both print and broadcast media and found it to average about 4%. This abysmal level has been persistent – rarely creeping over 10%, despite fluctuations seen during exceptional moments such as the Olympics, the World Cup or, as I found in my own research, when women compete against men.”
Even further: “Women’s sport has long felt the impact of history on its development… This manifests itself today in the lack of women in positions of power in sports associations, invisibility across sport media platforms, and the presumption that women athletes are never going to be quite as good as men.”
Concluding with: “While it has always bounced back, the survival of women’s sport, when it eventually restarts, is going to depend on increased visibility in the sports media. Here’s hoping.”
In 2018, the English FA generated a turnover of approximately 375 million British pounds, mostly through broadcasting rights, sponsorship, and licensing. The expenditure of the FA amounted to approximately 385 million British pounds that year, of which the majority consists of operating expenses, followed by investments into the game, according to Statista.com
Only 11% of that money was invested in the development of women’s football; right above the 5% invested in disability, equality, and child protection.
Read the full research here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/516048/fa-investments-into-football-uk/
Lack of coverage and access to live matches, real-time reporting, and in-depth analysis is a hurdle in the way of women’s football growth. It affects investment and key policy decisions.
If we can get more coverage for the women’s game collectively and individually, it would offer a buffet of clubs for fans to pick from. And that adds value to the league and the clubs.
In a year hit by a pandemic, there has been a fundamental exposure of how much the English FA and their government values the women’s game. And the odds did not look good.
To think a Barclays FAWSL team would decide to place a ban on site71, denying fans – including theirs – a brilliant source of coverage and top quality journalistic and fan work!