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World Cup every two years can help women’s football become self-sustainable: Jill Ellis | Football News – Times of India

October 19, 2021

PANAJI: The head of Fifa’s technical advisory group, Jill Ellis, believes the chance to have a biennial World Cup for women is a billion-dollar opportunity to become self-sustaining and less reliant on men’s football.
Ellis knows all about World Cups and winning them, having guided the United States to glory in 2015 and 2019 before leaving.
She is now heading the technical advisory group, set up to decide, among other issues, whether doubling the frequency of World Cups from their current four-year cycle is a good idea.
“One of the things we discussed is how do we become less reliant on men’s support,” Ellis told reporters on Monday. “Right now, most of the top women’s clubs in the world are heavily reliant on financial support from the men’s side, either from the ownership or subsidising from the men’s side.
“If we think small, that will continue. If we think big, this will be an opportunity for us to stand alone. We should think that our sport can be self-sustainable, and the way we can do that is to get in the centre more frequently.”
Nowhere is women’s football more in focus than the World Cup. Plans for a biennial tournament has been discussed during the two meetings that TAG has had so far. But unlike the Fifa legends from Arsene Wenger’s men’s working group, opinion here remains divided.
“I can’t say this is a foregone conclusion. I’ve told people that I need you to passionately discuss through your perspective and experiences, but then I also ask them to appreciate other points of view,” said Ellis.
The former USA head coach, though, said the positives from a World Cup are hard to ignore, particularly with the additional revenue shaping more professional leagues and getting more women to play the sport.
“The level of the sport gets elevated massively after a World Cup. Domestically there’s a benefit, viewership comes up, leagues have been started, players have been discovered. There are so many positives.
“Will the World Cup value be lessened? One player said she wishes she can play the World Cup every year. The Champions Leagues, both for men and women, are played every year and nobody will argue that there is no great value. It’s not so much about the frequency. It’s about how well our sport is run, and how well it is developing,” she said.
Having a women’s World Cup every two years would mean a clash with the Olympics, which for women – unlike men where it’s an under-23 tournament — is a major event involving national teams.
“If we really care about women’s football than the Olympics should be a bigger tournament than 12 teams, including just three from Europe,” said Ellis. “If you want to raise the profile, have more people to participate and have access to participate. When you don’t have some of the best teams in the world there, I think that’s not showcasing our sport.”
There have been concerns in some quarters that adding another major tournament to the calendar would impact player welfare. There are others who feel a World Cup every two years would open more doors.
“We have had our World Cup final (clash) with two other confederations final on the men’s side and came out heading the rankings. We have the belief and trust in our sport that we can have a big piece of the pie. We don’t have to sit in a corner.
“More access to every little girl to play this game, more visibility for our players to have a voice and get what they deserve, I don’t see that as a negative,” said Ellis.
The technical advisory group is made up of players, coaches, referees, administrators, sports scientists and executives. It features representation from each of the six continental confederations.

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