- Many World Cup struggled physically
- Others pointed to mental health obstacles
- Some players are struggling on very low earnings
A damning report has uncovered a string of problems many players endured before the Women’s World Cup started in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.
The survey of over 250 footballers found 66 per cent of stars who took to the pitch from July 20 onwards were not at their physical peak due to insufficient preparation time, a condensed international match calendar and staffing inadequacies.
Other issues included limited avenues of mental health support.
And once nations were eliminated from the tournament, 86 per cent of players interviewed pointed to insufficient recovery time before re-joining their domestic clubs in Europe, the US or Asia.
A number of Matildas stars felt burnt out, with Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley returning to action with Arsenal in UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifiers just 19 days after losing the semi-final to England on home soil.
A report has uncovered a myriad of problems that many players endured before the Women’s World Cup started in Australia and New Zealand in July (pictured, Matildas captain Sam Kerr, who battled a calf injury throughout the tournament)
Some Matildas stars felt burnt out due to a lack of recovery time, with Caitlin Foord (pictured) and Steph Catley returning to action with Arsenal just 19 days after the semi-final vs England
Sarah Gregorius, FIFPRO director of Policy and Strategic Relations for Women’s Football stressed travel conditions – including business class seats – should have been mandatory for all players.
‘Some had to go back and play some very important games quite quickly, and physiologically, you are very limited if you don’t travel in the way that your body needs to as an elite athlete,’ she told the ABC.
‘If you look at the way competitions are being placed now — whether it’s confederation championships, Olympics, World Cup qualifiers, whatever it may be — the calendar is becoming more and more congested.
‘So we need to make sure that every single parameter, including the timing of the tournaments and travel, is done in a way that helps players get there in the best possible shape.
Matildas left back Steph Catley is also a vital player for the Gunners in the Women’s Super League in England
‘Then they can get back to their day-to-day club environments in the best possible shape to perform there as well.’
Of the players surveyed, 94 per cent said they flew business class on their way to Australia or New Zealand for the tournament, but that figure dropped to 80 per cent when they left.
Additionally, 22 per cent of players did not undergo an electrocardiogram test and 10 per cent confirmed they also didn’t receive a pre-tournament medical exam.
Both medical tests are mandated under FIFA regulations.
The report went onto confirm 33 per cent of players who took part in this year’s World Cup still earn less than $30,000 a year from football – and one in five work second jobs in a bid to be more comfortable financially.