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Germany's women celebrate a win against Ireland
Image: Sven Simon/picture-alliance

Opinion: DFB and women's football - less talk, more action

Jasmina Schweimler
October 30, 2020

In the week that marks 50 years since women's football was accepted as part of the German FA (DFB), a special focus dedicated to the women's game is a nice touch but not enough for DW's Jasmina Schweimler.


Women's football in Germany has been stagnating for a while now, and external and internal criticism grows. After all, 50 years is not a long time.

Looking back at the start and historic moments is nice, but it would be more important to make a promise for the years ahead, to put energy into improving and configuring the future of the game. It's time something finally changed.

Bayern and Germany international Lina Magull recently said that while the DFB (German FA) is evidently making an effort, that the FA's priority remains towards the men's game and that women's football often gets the short end of the stick. In an interview with local media in the north of Germany (NDR) goalkeeper Almuth Schult demanded the game receive more attention. Players and those around the sport have said similar things in the past, but not much has changed.

The Women's Bundesliga is hardly accessible for national or international audiences. The league doesn't even have its own homepage. Television presence is scarce and reporters often have to rely on live blogs and support from the clubs for their information.

Coverage crisis

That the league is second best was clear at the start of the month when Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen wasn't shown because of an overlap in programming. The station told the FA about this possibility in advance, but a reaction only came when fans registered their discontent on social media. A short-notice change of live games to other stations or general live coverage on the FA's TV channel is not allowed according to the current right's agreement. The DFB is apparently working on a solution.

DFB Pokal Finale Frauen - VFL Wolfsburg vs SGS Essen
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Vennenbernd

In July, defending champions Wolfsburg and Essen played a thrilling German Cup final that was eventually decided on penalties. Immediately afterwards, public broadcaster ARD changed their coverage to build-up of the men's cup final. Interviews and celebrations were left to those fans scrambling to the live stream online. In both cases, you can't blame the DFB but more support for those players who deserved to be seen celebrating would have been welcomed.

For years, the women's Bundesliga has been one of the best leagues in the world, but the trend at the moment is for players to make the move abroad. In England, it's not just the money that makes the difference, it's also about recognition. They are setting new standards in terms of presence and marketing. In the US, the Portland Thorns played in front of 25,218 fans last August. Other countries have recognized the potential.

It is time to listen to players, fans and those who love the game. It is time for action. The wishes are simple: a foundation of acceptance, respect and care. That in 2020 we are not there yet is sad and quite frankly unacceptable.