Excitement builds to fever pitch as the FIFA Women’s World Cup gets underway…

Excitement at the FIFA Women's World Cup.
A thrilled crowd enjoys the FIFA Women’s World Cup

The FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place every four years. This is the year, so it is also the year of incessant whining by women soccer players about the fact that they are not paid as much as male players.

Are they right to complain?

Are they as fast as male players? No. Are they as strategic as male players? No. Are they as skilful as male players? No.  Do their games generate as much advertising revenue as male games? No.

The simple fact is that women do not play soccer. They play women’s soccer, a slower, less skilful version of the game, which is consequently less interesting to watch.

There are excuses. Well, there aren’t, but they are offered anyway. It is sometimes admitted that women are not as strong or as fast as men, but, proponents insist, this is balanced by the fact that women are more skilful and more strategic, less selfish in play. No one who has watched a professional women’s game and then watched a professional men’s game could believe this for a minute.

Well, then, they claim, it may be true women don’t play as well, but this because women haven’t been playing as long, so they have had fewer opportunities to learn and train. But the first FIFA women’s cup was held in 1970. No woman playing in any FIFA team this year was born before 1970. All current professional women players have had the same opportunities to learn and train as male players.

But no, shout the equal pay demanders. It isn’t fair, because men’s teams have far better resources, and that’s why they play better. No. Men play better, and that’s why men’s professional teams have better resources. And in any case, in reality, at the highest levels the difference in resources available to men’s and women’s teams is negligible.

The difference in male vs female play is not because of deficiencies in resources. The highest ranked women’s teams in the world, with the best training timetable and resources, will be beaten by any decent district boy’s under 15 team. The boys at that age may not be as disciplined; they will almost all be studying fulltime, and struggle to get to training once a week,  but they will be faster, stronger and more skilful.

If players in women’s FIFA and professional teams should be paid as much as male players, shouldn’t the fifteen year old boys who will beat them every time also be paid as much? No, obviously, because professional and FIFA football is a business, and as in any business, outgoings have to be proportionate to income. High school boys can’t be paid as much as professional male players. Where would the money come from? Neither can female players. Women’s soccer does not generate the same revenue.

The only way women players could be paid as much is either through government subsidies, that is, increases in your taxes, or by taking money from the male players whose skill and efforts actually earned it, and giving to players at nowhere near their level.

The reality is that if you want to watch matches at the same level as the highest women’s soccer teams, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, go and watch your local high school boys’ competition. It won’t cost you anything, and local teams will appreciate your support.

And of course, watch the women as well. They deserve support, and the same pay as the high school boys.