WWC big changes?

More people than ever are watching women's football

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Will the Women's World Cup change football?

By Joe Harker

Let's be honest, the Women's World Cup was actually fantastic.

Alright, there were a few annoying incidents with VAR but it was a thoroughly exciting tournament, even if the clear favourites stormed to a victory that rarely looked in doubt.

Many have hailed the competition as a turning point in the fortunes of women's football, the inciting incident that will boost the profile of the women's game and inspire a new generation to take up the sport themselves.

The Claim:

Great change doesn't come overnight but the 2019 Women's World Cup can leave a legacy that sparks a new era of women's football, writes Mark Critchley of The Independent.

With all the talk about the WWC being a landmark moment it might be prudent to temper short term expectations, though there's no reason not to be optimistic about the future of the beautiful game.

Former England international Eni Aluko believes people have fallen in love with women's football and stressed that positive change could come if the game could keep millions of new fans engaged after the World Cup.

Any such myth that people just aren't interested in women playing football is gone, clearly the audience exists and is growing with people who never before had an interest in football realising the sport has something for them.

With a new generation turned onto women's football the game could go from strength to strength after a fantastic World Cup.

The Counter Claim:

However, inspiring heroes aren't enough to keep women's football popular and at the forefront of the public mind.

The Guardian's Sean Ingle warns that the stellar success of the Women's World Cup needs to be backed up by proper support for the game.

More needs to be done to get girls playing football. They want to emulate their new heroes, what they need is the opportunity and facility to do so.

Ingle is concerned about research that says big sporting events like the Olympics don't really do anything to get people into sport, instead getting people who are already active to try new sports.

Better work at the grassroots of the game is needed, young girls need pitches to play on and coaches to learn from if the success of the Women's World Cup is going to have a lasting effect. Expecting the spectacle of a tournament to last for years to come is unrealistic and eschews responsibility.

The Facts:

While more people were watching on screens the number of fans in stadiums was disappointingly low. Matchday attendance was lower at this tournament than in 2015, 2007 and 1999, with FIFA criticised for underpromoting the tournament.

Still, TV audiences tuned in by the millions, new generations easily able to watch their national teams competing at the World Cup. With more and more football being locked behind subscriptions the women's game being free to air is a welcome change.

One of the major achievements of the Women's World Cup could be equal pay for the victorious USWNT, who retained their title.

In the US the women's team earn significantly less than the men's team despite the former being the top ranked side in international football and the latter ranked 30th with no trophies won.

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