Women's soccer was one of the main victims of the pandemic in Mexico
After the start of the season was delayed, women's soccer returned to Mexico on Aug. 13.
It is not a secret that sports are one of the most-affected industries during the COVID-19 outbreak. The sudden cancellation of tournaments and leagues around the world has triggered an unprecedented financial crisis.
As a result, the restart of certain tournaments during the pandemic’s peak, have people questioning the comeback of sports at all.
Despite the efforts being made, sports also don’t feel the same.
The modifications that have been done to fit the new normal, such as the absence of people in the stands, make sports seem anything but normal.
One of the sports that has suffered the most during this couple of months is women’s soccer in Mexico.
The abrupt cancellation of the season half-way through its completion exposed the issues the league has been facing since its foundation three years ago.
Mexico’s women’s soccer league (Liga MX Femenil) was established back in 2016, when the Mexican Federation made it mandatory for every team to have a female representative club.
The league was created in an attempt to allow women to compete at a higher level, to develop talent, and to increase the level of the women’s national soccer team.
However, despite the brave and innovative initiative, nowadays the wage gap and unequal treatment of women compared to men has hampered the growth process.
The wages offered to professional women aren’t enough to live and, because it is a sport that demands time, with training almost every day of the week, it’s hard for players to get a second job.
According to Paola López Yrigoyen, a player for Pachuca, the only available jobs off the field are part time.
“Tell me, who's going to hire someone who practices every day, sometimes twice a day? Or someone who travels to play?" she said.
The difference between women’s and men’s salaries is a huge factor when it comes to developing talented players.
The counterargument often cited is that both leagues don’t generate the same income, therefore it is impossible to pay the same wages to women and men.
The point many with that opinion miss is that men’s soccer has been played for decades, whereas women’s professional league was founded just three years ago.
In economic terms, women’s soccer needs the wage investment so players can focus just on playing, without worrying about other jobs.
Only by doing this would more women in Mexico be interested in playing and becoming professional. As a result, the level of play will increase.
The biggest problem here is that, when it comes to sports, Mexican investors look for the short-term benefits, and the idea to have patience and help women’s soccer evolve doesn't match with their ideas of risk and profit.
Increasing the access and the players' reward are the only incentives that will help women’s soccer to continue developing. Otherwise, the gap between men’s and women’s will continue to grow.
Let’s hope for investment in women’s soccer to be part of the so-called “new normal” since, as it’s been proven throughout the years, men’s soccer has never reached the expectations.