The DFL wants to promote women’s football and has obliged the Bundesliga clubs to provide a women’s team. The initiative comes at the right time: Pure women’s football clubs are no longer competitive.
No longer feasible without men’s clubs? The footballers of the once glorious 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam could be relegated from the Bundesliga next weekend. A crash with announcement: For women’s clubs that don’t have a big professional club behind them, it’s getting more and more difficult in the upper house. Meanwhile – also as a result of the EM euphoria about the German national team in summer 2022 – more and more men’s first and second division teams are supporting women’s teams. And according to a requirement of the German Football League, they must do so in the future.
From the coming season, a paragraph in the DFL licensing regulations will apply, according to which a professional club must promote women’s football – by “registering a women’s and/or girls’ team for official competitions or concluding a cooperation agreement with a football club”. Traditional clubs like FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund only started a few years ago at the bottom of the district league. Others such as FSV Mainz 05, VfB Stuttgart and Hertha BSC found their way in through local cooperation.
Top conditions only under the umbrella of men’s Bundesliga teams
The fact is that top conditions – as demonstrated by VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern as the only title candidates in recent years – can only be guaranteed under the umbrella of a men’s Bundesliga club. Especially since the women’s Bundesliga clubs posted an average minus of almost 1.5 million euros in the 2021/22 season, which a large club can easily compensate for. In the meantime, practically all major clubs see it as socially and sportingly relevant to get involved with female soccer players – and as a promising investment in view of the boom in the long-standing shadow sport.
National coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg sees the trend confirmed by the development at Turbine Potsdam. “Of course that would be a loss because Potsdam has had an extreme impact on women’s football and has ensured international success,” said the 55-year-old from the German Press Agency on the inevitable relegation of the Champions League winner in 2005 and 2010, six times in East Germany and Germany German champion from Brandenburg. The Turbine team is eight points behind at the bottom of the table.
In the next season, SGS Essen, which has produced numerous national players, would be the only all-women’s club among twelve top division teams. “It will be difficult for the women’s football clubs only if the infrastructure cannot grow as much and the players then maybe orientate themselves differently,” said Voss-Tecklenburg.
Clubs like RB Leipzig are rising in women’s football
RB Leipzig, which is considered a potential top team with its opportunities, has been promoted to the Bundesliga. Without the men’s licensed clubs and the German Football Association, according to RB sports director Viola Odebrecht, “we wouldn’t be where we are now. It’s good that they are providing the support that sport deserves and not only see it as a by-product”.
At Schalke, sports director Peter Knäbel is “for evolution and not for revolution. We’re not saying that we have to get into the Bundesliga as quickly as possible. We also want to take the other clubs in our region with us and develop women’s football further in the long term”. He thinks it is important that the clubs from the men’s Bundesliga take on a role model function in women’s football.
Voss-Tecklenburg would regret it if Turbine “disappeared from the Bundesliga for the first time on the football map. I hope they have the energy, the desire and the willingness to get back up there,” she said.
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