Women's Football as it moves into the 21st Century.
The real breakthrough in women's football came in 1986 and was almost solely down to one individual, Norwegian associations delegate, Ellen Wille. A proposal made by Ellen at the 45th FIFA Congress in Mexico City was to change the opportunities and the popularity of women's football forever. "FIFA should do more to further women's football," to the surprise of many Joao Havelange not only agreed with the suggestion but said he would personally back the movement setting up an ad hoc committee as a first step. If football intended to reach universal status then obviously it could not neglect half of the world population and so it was only a matter of time before the women's game would begin its uncontested increase. .
An increase in women participation in football needed an event to kick-start its proposed growth. Sure enough this event was held in the form of a tournament in the province of Guangdong in Southern China, 1988. The tournament was as much about proving to the world governing bodies that women's football was both financially and commercially viable as being a public interest catalyst. A mad scramble for tickets and a very high standard of play assured the GB's.
The infrastructure of the men's football has taken decades of development and fine-tuning it is therefore impossible to see the women's game resembling the same system in the next few years. The difficult part, I believe, has been overcome and the game is growing both in size and popularity. The women's Governing Bodies now have to actively nurture their sport. There is evidence that this is already being done and its results are positive, the best example at this was seen at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, which will be remembered for being the first Games to include women's football as an Olympic event. Nearly 1.4 million people watched the matches altogether with average viewing figures per match of 40,000.