FWSL is according to many, including myself, the world’s best and most interesting league right now. With top teams like Chelsea FC, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester city the league has attracted a huge amount of amazing fans and top players from all over the world. The conditions are great in the biggest clubs, but I think that the gap between the best teams and the rest are still too big.
In Chelsea we have impressive conditions, both on and off the pitch. As a player you are given everything that you need to perform and the focus can be on playing football. The rest is something that someone else is handling who is expert in their area. We can see similar conditions in the other top teams in the league. But something I have reflected on during my first months here in England is the mixed standards on facilities and pitches at clubs that do not have the same possibility to have it as good as we have it.
When I pictured English football I pictured myself rainy, tough games on grass and ”old school” changing rooms built mostly of orange bricks. I would say that the greater part of my picture is correct. The rain is there, the physical game too and orange bricks I have seen a lot of in most of the arenas I have visited so far. My first months has been maybe the most ”boring” months to play football in terms of the weather, so the part about rain is not surprisingly and that also plays its part in bad pitches of course. But still, the quality on the pitches and changing room is worse than what I was expecting. Worse than how many teams have it in the Swedish Damallsvenskan, to get a perspective on it.
Most of the teams in Damallsvenskan play on artificial grass, which many think should not be the case in Swedish top football. I agree. Football should be played on grass, IF the pitch is good enough and does not affects the game in a bad way. If there is hardly any grass, the pitch far too soft or hard and it matters where in the goal you position yourself to adjust your body height, then I choose artificial grass every day of the week. I think that the conditions of the pitches has varied far too much for me to think that it is good enough for maybe the best league in the world right now.
I think there should be a minimum standard of the changing room as well. The showers does not always work optimal. In one arena the hot water in the showers was turned on only after the game. The rooms are pretty small, so we need to be divided into two groups to be able to keep distance in this pandemic. The toilets are like playing the lottery. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. For a league that is at the top, it is not good enough. I am not being ungrateful for what we have, but I think that we can do better to improve.
FWSL is a top league and more and more investments are being made in the league’s various teams. It looks good from the outside and many people are impressed with the progress that are being made in English football on the women’s side. Everything is not perfect yet though, which is often only seen when one is inside it. Much needs to get better if it to be good enough to keep the measure for a world-class league. The minimum levels needs to be raised, requirements need to be set and some conditions that have previously been approved need to stop being accepted. There is more to demand from a league of this caliber. And the help to reach that needs to come from different parties. We are in this together.
Read the full article in Swedish at Fotbollskanalen