Arsene Wenger believes the women’s game is in better health than it has ever been as Arsenal Ladies prepare for the start of the 2016 FA WSL season.
Last year’s competition saw the league capitalise on the success of the England national team at the 2015 World Cup, with record attendances throughout the season.
Arsenal could be set to join Manchester City and Chelsea in a battle for the title this season having invested heavily in England international Fara Williams, Nigerian striker Asisat Oshoala and German defender Josephine Henning.
That commitment has been matched off-field, with the Ladies side benefitting from recently upgraded facilities at the Colney training ground. It paints a rosey picture of a game on the up and Wenger is confident that this is just the side for the women’s game.
“I am much more optimistic today than I was 10 or 15 years ago because it looks like it’s become a worldwide phenomenon,” the manager told the Arsenal Magazine. “Women’s football has taken off. It has developed into a good technical level, the popularity is increasing and there are big countries like America, China and Japan playing women’s football now.
“Organisation and every other aspect of their game has improved since I’ve been involved in football. Their preparation is much better. Now you have professional players so their preparation is much better.
“It always starts with the same thing, though, and that’s the education. That’s improving too because they have academies now. We have one here and that improves physical and technical preparation.”
The advent of the WSL has followed the growing professionalization of the women’s game, with some top players now earning £65,000 a year.
Whilst that pales in comparison with their contemporaries in the next game Wenger expects money to continue flowing towards the competition.
“The next step will be economical for them,” he said. “We depend on the economics that comes from television, and that becomes much more positive. The Women’s World Cup has become a very big competition, the Champions League will become a very interesting competition, and that’s why I believe that every player becoming professional is the next step. We are not far away from that.”
Arsenal Ladies begin their WSL campaign against Reading on Wednesday night in one of three matches in the top division, including likely title challengers Manchester City Women taking on Notts County Ladies at home.
Source: Evening Standard