EURO 2013

Ladies football not ‘sexy’ enough for the media

One paragraph with the match result - that's what a well-known news agency devoted to the Euro 2013 semi-final between Germany and Sweden in Gothenburg.

Ladies football not 'sexy' enough for the media

No mention of the heartbreak suffered by the Swedes who had a goal disallowed or struck the post late on. It was a dramatic game watched by over 16,000 in the stadium and boasting a television viewing audience of millions.

But nothing. Nada. Niente.

Women’s football appears to not be sexy enough to attract attention from the mainstream media. This is despite the fact that Uefa recently lauded Euro 2013 as the “best ever Women’s Euro” with record attendances.

“I can only speak for Goal really when I say that it’s not worth our while sending people out to women’s tournaments because the mainstream appeal among football fans in general just isn’t there,” Peter Staunton, a senior editor with, told The Local.

Granted, the likes of the BBC and the Guardian have done a solid job with minute-by-minute commentaries of many games at Euro 2013. England’s thumping by France early in the competition was the most read sports article on the Guardian for a 24-hour period.

For all that though, have a look at the popular 101 Great Goals fansite, which posts dozens of football videos on a daily basis. These range from bizarre own goals to match highlights.

You’ll find barely a mention of Euro 2013 if you want to catch up on the action. You will find plenty of videos of new Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola practising his German.

The lack of media coverage is a persistent problem affecting the ladies game. When the oxygen of publicity is given to it you’ll invariably get cliches about the inevitable, and unfair, comparisons with the men’s scene.

For instance, the media lapped up the story earlier in the year about Sweden’s ladies team being given a battering by an underage boys side. AIK’s under 17’s beat the female opponents 3-0 playing with just 10 men or, should that be, boys.

“We had our hands full during the game,” said Swedish defender Sara Thunebro while the boys reported that the ladies team were “strong and aggressive”.

Such adjectives are to be expected when often the only media theme is how ladies football stacks up against the men. Women’s soccer needs to be assessed on its merits and not how the girls compare with the boys.

Of course, the women’s game is hardly helped when Fifa President Sepp Blatter suggested that it would get better ratings if the players wore tighter shorts.

Perhaps the gaffe-prone Blatter should look at the most recent TV ratings in Sweden. The nation’s opening group games against Italy and Denmark were the two most watched programmes in the entire country.

Women’s football does have an audience and if you bother to watch it, you’ll notice they can play a bit too.

For instance the final of the women’s World Cup in 2011 between Japan and the USA was the most thrilling game of the year. The Asian side won on penalties watched by almost 50,000 spectators.

It was certainly a lot more entertaining than the snoozefest the men produced in 2010 World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands.

But there we go again, comparing the two codes. It’s inevitable, inescapable and will remain so for as long as the women’s game is kept in relative obscurity.

“It’s not like tennis in which men and women compete for the limelight alongside one and other. In football, women’s football is very much second best in terms of its perception and its appeal,” said Staunton.

“It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. The interest isn’t there so we don’t cover it and so forth,” the football journalist added.

So there you have it. You can join the cycle or buck the trend and watch a match starting with the Euro 2013 final between Germany and Norway.

It’s not as if you can rely on the media to deliver an authoritative report the following day now is it?

Patrick Reilly

Follow Patrick on Twitter here

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Top Brazilian football star signs for Malmö club

Brazilian superstar Marta will be donning the colours of FC Rosengård this season with the Swedish club hoping the investment will keep them at the top of the women's game.

Top Brazilian football star signs for Malmö club
Marta celebrates after scoring in the 2014 Uefa Champions League Women's Final. Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Marta, often dubbed the female Pele, has spent most of her professional career playing in the Swedish league. The 28-year-old has previously played for Umeå IK and most recently for Tyresö FF.

"We are delighted to sign Marta who is one of the best players in the world," FC Rosengård sport manager Erlin Nilsson told The Local after unveiling the South American forward to the media.

FC Rosengård, formerly known as LdB FC Malmö, scooped the Swedish title last season and have been keen on landing the Brazilian for some time.

Marta was out of contract with Tyresö FF and joined on a free transfer. No details on her salary have been revealed but Nilsson conceded to The Local that it fits into the club's existing budget.

"It was a very straightforward process as she wanted to come to the club. We came to an agreement quite quickly and it is fantastic news as she is an incredible player who will be a good role model for our younger players," said Nilsson.

The Brazilian scored two spectacular goals (video below) in the Women's Champions League final in May but it wasn't enough to prevent Tyresö FF from losing 4-3 to Wolsfburg in the final.

She told the press that she wanted to make "history" with FC Rosengård and help the club achieve success in Europe.

The club believe her signing could have a knock-on effect for the women's game in southern Sweden.

"I think the fans will be happy and hopefully it will generate more interest in the women's game. It can be difficult to get people to sit up and take notice of women's football but with Marta we'd like to think more people will come to the games" said Nilsson.

In a 2009 interview Marta said she felt she had the skills to play in the men's game. She was voted FIFA World Player of the Year five times in a row between 2006 – 2010.

Marta has signed a contract for the 2014 season with an option for another year. 

The Local/pr