The French women’s football team is doing well. Les Bleues are on a series of fourteen consecutive victories and have never been so well placed (3are) in the International Football Federation (FIFA) ranking. Auspicious, as begins the Euro, from July 6 to 31 in England.
But behind the window of the national team, the French women’s football championship – the D1 Arkema – is less flashy. There are, of course, the good results on the European scene of Paris-Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyonnais (OL) – winner on May 21 against Barcelona of his eighth Champions League final. But these hide badly the fact that the First Division still has an amateur status, under the direct supervision of the French Football Federation (FFF). Where Ligue 1, its male counterpart, is managed by the Professional Football League.
The women’s championship failed to take advantage of the success of the 2019 World Cup organized in France – nearly a million spectators in the stadiums – to structure itself. The health crisis due to Covid-19 and the cessation of competitions in March 2020 did not help. But today, apart from the matches between OL and PSG, many posters between the twelve D1 Arkema clubs are struggling to attract the thousand onlookers. Due to a lack of attendance, the teams often play on adjoining pitches, making the product offered by Canal+, official broadcaster of the championship until 2023, unattractive.
The bonus of 50,000 euros paid by the FFF to each of the twelve elite clubs is not enough to hide a certain precariousness either. If the twenty highest salaries evolve in Paris or Lyon – according to estimates of The TeamKadidiatou Diani (PSG) and Wendie Renard (OL) would earn 37,000 euros gross monthly -, many players in the French championship, which has nearly 200 federal contracts, including part-time, are paid at the bonus match or reimbursement.
As a result, the gap continues to widen with the Spanish or Italian championships – both professional – in which there are more and more collective agreements guaranteeing social protection and minimum wages.
Take stock of the problem
In the aftermath of the French candidacy for the organization of Euro 2025, at the beginning of February, the Norwegian striker from Lyon Ada Hegerberg had not minced her words in an angry tweet to alert the federal authorities: the Golden Ball 2018 asserted that the championship was “on the pick-up”.
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