Upon Toni Duggan’s transfer to Barcelona, it seemed women’s football was continuing its meteoric rise, and with its status ever-increasing, most notably due to these proficient players transferring, it may have been natural to assume the sport might have narrowed the divide between themselves and their male counterparts. Yet, this occurred at club level, and whilst the FA’s plans to create a professional top tier may further cement this desire, it seems international football may be required to follow suit. With Norway recently confirming their intention to provide the women’s national team with identical pay to their male counterparts, it seems they may be paving the way for innovation, and whilst therefore their high-ranking influencers may claim the plaudits for providing equal opportunities, they may have an impact on a more global scale, with other nations potentially replicating their actions.
Whilst men’s football may be superior in terms of both quality and support, the prime reason behind this seems to be the vast funds available, with clubs following Roman Abramovich’s philosophy during his tenure at Chelsea due to spending often correlating with success. Yet, the Norwegian men’s national team seemed to play a pivotal role in proceedings, providing an investment themselves; whilst they may therefore advocate the movement, it may also suggest these players recognise the benefits of solid infrastructure, and thus may be aiming to involve themselves in the campaign. Considering the agreement sees the Norwegian payment budget increase to 6 million krona, it seems this decision may signal an influx of investment in the women’s game, with their vast support networks, and status as international players, perhaps reiterating this further.
With the Norwegian side amongst the most successful in history, with a World Cup triumph to their name, it seems they may be being recognised, and valued, for their consistency at the pinnacle. As such, the importance of international tournaments seems to be being highlighted, and whilst the 2012 Olympics may have signalled this originally, the most recent European Championships may have been similarly important, with the availability of the matches on television, alongside intriguing match-ups, perhaps showcasing the prominence of the sport. These factors may contribute to an influx of women striving for a position on teams, due to both its increased viability and high statuses, and with potential snowball effects, such as the reduction in obesity levels potentially alleviating the NHS situation, the quest may be important on a larger scale than the sport itself.
Whilst the announcement may therefore naturally claim the plaudits, it may also be poignant to focus on the overarching benefit this may have on the sport. Whilst the monetary advantages may be clear, it may more notably enable credibility to return to the sport, after months of challenging predicaments in international football. With the England manager’s job recently becoming available, predominantly due to the situation surrounding Mark Sampson, it may draw attention to the positive aspects of the sport as the necessity intensifies; yet, considering there also seemed to be a similar payment debate for the Denmark national side, which required the intervention of the male team to negotiate a solution, the announcement may more importantly ensure these events remain in memory rather than replicated, further proving how the women’s game may be constantly seeking to improve, a key trait required for overall success.
Whilst at club level the consistent renovation, and investment, seems to be paying dividends, with consecutive FA Cup finals at Wembley ultimately reiterating this suggestion, the declaration may be the sole action of its kind in the sport. With it therefore being a prime contributor to the overarching campaign for equal pay in women’s sport, and with the movement having already amassed a wide array of support, most notably with the players’ union representative Joachim Walltin, credibility may have also been ensured. Yet, this may solely be the beginning, and further investment may be required to bring the sport level with its male counterparts, and with the women’s game continuing to gain exposure, Norway may have cemented their position in the history books as renovators who commenced the transition to the future.
How may Norway’s announcement set a precedent which other nations may follow?