In his second article for our Women’s Football Weekly feature, Forfar Farmington head coach Mark Nisbet takes a look at and discusses the level of investment in the elite level of women’s football in this country.
Firstly let me acknowledge that the investment has greatly improved from when I first starting in the game and that must be applauded. The reality though is that we are still a long way away from where everyone would like to be. Over recent years initiatives such as Cash back Scotland and now performance based payments plus Elite licence instalments have really helped the players and clubs improve and move forward.
Something which my club has found extremely frustrating is the difficulty in generating major sponsorship to help support the operations of the club. We have been lucky to get many local businesses support the club but when we have tried to engage larger businesses and organisations it has been a different story which I find hard to understand.
Like many clubs out there, we have technically gifted players who are extremely committed to their sport. We also have strong websites plus social media outlets to give the exposure required. Added to this we are beginning to see increased exposure through other media outlets such as Scotzine, local, as well as national newspapers which is a real help.
The investment issue really became apparent to me when we recently went down to Liverpool to take part in a pre-season tournament. Both English sides we competed against were at different ends of the scale in terms of the English game but were still operating at a far higher level than clubs in Scotland.
One of the clubs in particular were in the process of building a squad of players from across the globe to mount a challenge for the league and ultimately the Champions League campaign which may follow that.
When talking to their manager after our game he asked me what was on the cards for the following day which I answered by saying its back to work for all of us tomorrow, whilst his staff and players were planning on meeting for breakfast, doing a recovery session then heading for a gym session.
A complete contrast from us and just one of the benefits of having the funding to be full-time. Of course a major contributor to this is the fact that the team I’m talking about is Liverpool Football Club, plus they have the added benefit of a television deal with ESPN in place for the Women’s Super League.
If the game in this country is to continue to develop and the players and coaches want to get to the very top, we really need to strive to get the level of investment increased. Ultimately the product needs to be at its very best if people are to take it seriously and give the game the backing it so desperately needs and deserves.
Finishing up for this week’s column, I hope you all enjoy the Champions League final on Saturday, between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, where the sums of money involved are frightening. The two German teams are financially responsible, so it just goes to show investment is important but it doesn’t need to be major if managed properly and utilised correctly.