5 reasons why 2017 was great for women’s football

From record-breaking budgets to progress on pay parity, 5 ways in which women’s football reached a new level in 2017

1. Lewes FC became the first football club to reach gender pay parity

Lewes Football Club announced in July that it would pay its women’s team the same as its men’s team, the first professional or semi-professional football club to do so. On the same day, the club launched Equality FC, a campaign to raise awareness about gender inequality in football and encourage more support for women and girls taking part in the game.

2. Record-breaking budgets for the women’s game

2017 saw a record €101.7m (£90.1m) invested into the women’s game by European nations. This figure has more than doubled, from €50.4m (£44.5m), five years ago. England leads the way here, by investing €15m (£13.1m) into women’s football last season alone.

Image: UEFA

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3. More women than ever before are playing competitively

Last year, a record 1.27m women were playing at professional and semi-professional level throughout Europe. Germany has the most women on its books, with 209,713 registered at youth and senior level, while in the last five years, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Portugal have seen the greatest growth in female player registration.

Image: UEFA

4. Women’s Euro 2017 enjoyed unprecedented interest

The Euro 2017 final was the most-watched sports TV programme of the year in the Netherlands – an average of 4.1m viewers tuned in – while there was a global audience of more than 13m. The Netherlands team was also the first Women’s Euro hosts to sell out all of their matches on the way to a victorious final. The tournament’s total attendance reached 240,045, which also surpassed the 2013 record of 216,888.

Image: UEFA

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5. Women are progressing in football off the field too

The number of women’s football committees is at an all-time high now too. There are now 44, helping develop female participation at every level. Some 155 more women (an increase of 230 per cent) have progressed into football managerial positions or higher since 2013. There are currently 399 women in these senior roles. More generally, the number of male and female staff dedicated to women’s football is 1.5 times higher across Europe than it was in 2013.

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