The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for April 27, 2020
FIFA and women's soccer, lots-o-links and Brrrruuuuunnnnnn!
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Suzanne Wrack wrote last week about how FIFA is going to keep its commitment to invest $1 billion to women’s soccer over the next four years, despite the hit that soccer is taking globally because of the coronavirus outbreak. Here is her excellent story for The Guardian.
I reached out to FIFA to confirm the report, and they sent me this statement:
“In line with the FIFA Women’s Football Strategy and FIFA’s long-term vision for the development of women’s football, this funding will be invested into a range of areas in the women’s game including competitions, capacity building, development programs, governance and leadership, professionalization and technical programs. We can confirm that this funding has already been committed by FIFA and will not be impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis.
We can also confirm that FIFA is also currently working on possibilities to provide assistance to the football community around the world, including women’s football, after making a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact this pandemic will have on football.”
Note that FIFA already said it would dedicate more funding to soccer overall in light of the pandemic. AP had the story here, from Rob Harris.
In the statement to me:
“We can confirm that women’s football is being fully considered as part of this process in order to understand the various needs and impact on stakeholders within the women’s game.”
On Friday, FIFA announced it would release all operational funding due to member associations for the years 2019 and 2020, meaning $150 million is going to the 211 federations worldwide.
I applaud FIFA for acting quickly and proactively to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus. I also am glad it didn’t de-fund women’s programs to give to the men.
Side note: It would be interesting to look into what other sport governing bodies are doing in the pandemic. (Hey! story idea!)
But going back to the investment in women’s soccer: I still have questions about how the $1 billion is being spent, and I still have questions about accountability. Who is making sure that member associations are spending those dollars on women’s soccer? What if they don’t? Is there oversight?
FIFPro, the global players union, will be releasing its report on women’s football later this week, so those questions are good to keep in mind as we get a snapshot on the state of the women’s game.
Moya Dodd weighed in with this comment on Wrack’s story. Good reminder.
(Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! email@example.com.)
UEFA postpones Women’s Euros to 2022.
I was on Jonathan Tannenwald’s podcast! Yay! You can listen here. I display an incredible amount of ignorance about NWSL allocation money. It’s something I’ve obviously got to research a bit more if the Utah Royals moves happen.
Speaking of that, Bouhaddi and Marozsan haven’t actually signed with the Royals. There are rumors that Marozsan is also being courted by Real Madrid.
Here’s my story on FIFA funding.
Wrack also had a great story on Ada Hegerberg. I am such a big fan of this talented reporter.
Katie Whyatt with a story that asks whether the women’s Super League is sustainable.
Forgive me, not sure who reported Phil Neville’s departure next year, but here’s the official announcement from the FA. Here’ The Athletic’s take, appropriately headlined the long goodbye. Important to note: It is unclear if Neville will still guide Team GB in the Olympics.
Lots of speculation on who might take his place. Some names? Jill Ellis. Ellis will be mentioned as a possible contender for every high-profile job that opens up, even though she’s said one of her reasons for leaving is to spend more time with her family. So I’m guessing it’s too soon, but you never know.
The Chicago Sun Times talked to NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. Which is interesting, since I apparently can’t get time with her, or even get a response. Hmmmmm. Thanks NWSL! (Am I little miffed? Why yes, yes I am.)
That leads us to Meg Linehan’s amazing Instagram Live session with Baird. If you missed it you can still catch it here.
Speaking of Instagram Live, OMG. A Touch More, please. Meg and Sue with Diana and Penny. Full episode is here on YouTube if you missed it.
Linehan of the Athletic checked in with USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski.
Stephanie Yang spoke to Tori Huster and what the NWSLPA is up to during the coronavirus shutdown.
Nice story here from The Equalizer on Tierna Davidson.
Kim McCauley muses that women’s soccer will be fine because it has the potential for financial growth.
Tweet of the week
HOPE HAD THE BABIES!
Five at The IX: Becky Sauerbrunn
Becky Sauerbrunn spoke to the media last week! Here’s some excerpts from that call. She was asked at the end about quarantine reading, and the Golden Compass came up, which resulted in a question about what kind of demon she’d be. Unsurprisingly, she said: “I mean, I would say I really hope it would be some sort of cat.”
Question: Becky, Obviously, you know so much about Portland soccer and you played against them so many years from a visitors perspective, did you ever have a thought of, maybe I can go there?
Sauerbrunn: You mean one day play for the Thorns? Yeah. I mean, it was interesting that the first year of the league, when they were all doing kind of the cities that you wanted to play in, Portland was by far the No. 1 for almost everybody. I kind of got ahead of that and just asked for Kansas City knowing that there was no chance that I was ever going to get Portland. But even from beginning people wanted to play here, and I don’t think that’s changed. For me personally. Ever since I moved here, which is about five years ago, it’s always kind of been in the back of my mind, like, is it possible to ever get to Portland. I wanted to do it in a right way, so it took time. But I’m really glad that it finally happened. [00:02:09][37.8]
Question: Outside of soccer, what was the attraction to Portland for you was a lifestyle?
Sauerbrunn: Well, I did come here because my boyfriend works for Adidas and they wanted him here at headquarters in North America. For me, I love the rain. I love the outdoorsy-ness of Portland. I love the character. I love the independent businesses. I love all the coffee shops. I love the food. I love the breweries. So really, it was a city that kind of called to me on all those levels.
Question: So with all those being closed down now, how are you dealing with all the extra time you have?
Becky: I mean, you just kind of roll with the punches and you do what you have to do. I’ve gotten really good at brewing my own coffee. And so I go and get my my beans at a grocery store or online delivery. I just wipe that down with Lysol. I’ve gotten used to make my own coffee. You just get creative with with the meals that you make and the way that you work out. And hopefully things will come back around soon when it’s safe to do so, but until then I’m doing fine. Just kind of making do on my own.
Question: I had a question actually about your new role with the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association. So if I understood this right, you you’re the first president or this is a new role that has been created?
Sauerbrunn: It’s more to make sure that we were in compliance with our bylaws. We needed to have our officers have certain positions. And so you see that there’s a president and two VPs. And the way that it kind of was, amongst the three of us, we kind of figured out, OK, I was the most tenured as a player representative. So it just made sense for me to move into that President role.
Question: Talk about that you’re working on to further the players association and your ultimate goals with with the players association?
Sauerbrunn: So, I mean, there are a lot of things that we’re trying to do with our players association. We’ve made a really concentrated effort to build up both sides of it. You know that we’re working with Time’s Up on the fight for pay equity. And then we’re also obviously kind of testing our marketplace value. And that’s a little bit on hold right now, just because a lot of organizations are struggling with COVID-10 and taking kind of financial hits. And so a lot of what we’re doing right now is at a standstill as well. And so really we go back to what our union is for and that’s taking care of the players. And so that’s making sure that if any player needs anything that as a PA, we’re doing our best to help fill that. Luckily, everyone seems to be doing OK right now if that changes, that’s something that we’re responsible for, the social well-being of all our players.It’s kind of an odd time for us as well. There are some things we can do and some things that we can prep for, but a lot of things, we do rely on others. And everyone’s in a different situation right now. And so you just kind of have to roll with the punches.
Question: I’m curious what players have been told as far as whether an NWSL season is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, what it might look like. What have the conversations been around those issues?
Sauerbrunn: Well, it’s ever evolving. And so even with the start of pre-season, we see it get pushed back a couple of weeks here and there. And so right now, the idea is that we would all start back up on on May 11th. And I’m not sure if that’s for sure or not. I think we’re all following the CDC guidelines and and taking our cues from other professional leagues as well. So, you know, Major League Baseball or football, whatever they do, we’re probably going to follow suit. I haven’t been told much about kind of the format of the season as well. I think they’ve played around with having the full gamut of games or maybe less games. And so there is no definite answer. I think they’re just planning on reopening when it’s safe to do so.