Women’s League in Colombia it ended last Friday and with the Santa Fe title a new championship was closed, which left various aspects of analysis in terms of level and organization, with elements that will be on the table when thinking about the future of the tournament, amid repeated complaints from footballers who are still waiting for a longer League.
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In its seventh edition, the championship ended five months and was played under the system of all against all, with 17 teams and a final that was marked by the great presence of fans, 30,747 in the first leg in Bogotá and 21,959 in Cali. In general, it was a league similar to the previous one, but it reaffirmed the general idea of having a stronger championship.
A longer league…
It occurs to me that it could be two more months, that is, a maximum 8-month championship
fernando jaramillo, president of Dimayor, advanced his idea for 2024 to EL TIEMPO. “Despite criticism for its shortness, it is a dynamic League. My opinion is that we have to have a smaller number of clubs to be able to raise the technical level and somehow lengthen the League a bit, from February to September. It is the idea and I hope to have the support of the clubs to develop it next year, so that we can design a championship with a little more continuity. It occurs to me that it could be two more months, that is, a maximum 8-month championship, ”he said. This idea will be brought to the desk at the end of the year assembly.
However, Jaramillo has another challenge, the commercial issue. “It did not go well for us, it is the truth. Many people talk about women’s football, but when looking for support from the private sector, it doesn’t exist. You have to work on it. I had four sponsors who verbally said yes and when they did, they didn’t show up”.
Meanwhile, criticism of the League persists and the short duration remains a main theme. nicole reginierformer soccer player and commentator on ESPN, said:
“The balance in terms of the level and commitment of the players is very good, the level is getting better, but in terms of organization, competition, support… it’s not good. It is getting worse. The positive thing is that the format has changed, it is no longer by region, but it is still too short a tournament. Colombia is getting more and more women’s tournaments, the Copa Libertadores is coming up in October, in 2024 the U-20 World Cup, it is time for the competition to last what it has to last and not just five months… There has to be a long tournament or two in the year; On the subject of contracts, what most players earn is still very low, taking out specific cases. The other thing is that the contracts are for 5 months and the other 7 are charging zero pesos.
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Other criticisms the exposed ones vanessa alipio, Manager of Deportivo Cali for women. “This tournament was not as good as the previous one in terms of competition, diffusion, transmissions, even support. The arbitration level was terrible, there is a lot to learn. I hope that the League can last longer, the ideal would be 10 months, even 9, to have more physical and technical work and for the level to improve, ”she said.
The voice of the players
The soccer players, directly involved, have different opinions, although they agree on their claim. Diana Celis, from Deportivo Cali, opined: «Taking into account that this year is the World Cup and the Copa Libertadores in October, let’s say that the duration was good, but it is not to hide that women’s football needs a League with more support, that is everything the year, since we have given results in all the categories of Selection and level of clubs. A competitive level is the best league together with the one in Brazil. And I say the best because Brazil has different tournaments throughout the year and we only have one and every 5 months».
Karen Murillo, a Millonarios footballer, thinks there is a lot to improve: “La Liga, instead of improving, went backwards. The lack of preparation in the arbitrations and teams was evident; as that improves, the level will increase, but we have already said this several years ago. With such a short League, many teams do not prepare properly. There is a lack of time, a better structure, better conditions, more stability”.
For his part, Jackie Fonseca, captain of La Equidad, saw a leap in quality: “This League was much more even, I think that for the first time until the last date it was defined who qualified. It was a League with a lot of talent, a lot of young players with excellent qualities and experienced coaches. The other year, like every year since 2017, we expect a long tournament with job stability”.
The Colombian Association of Professional Soccer Players (Acolfutpro) said that the balance this year is «similar» to the previous one in number of clubs and duration. They highlighted the plane transfers and adequate accommodation, as well as the improvement in training sites and sports equipment, and, above all, compliance with contracts and payments.
Carlos Gonzales Puche, its executive director, analyzed: “In many teams like Cali, América, Nacional, Millonarios, Santa Fe, La Equidad, everyone has a contract. In others they are limited to complying with the quota, which is 15 (of 30 registered). Salaries are still minimal in the majority, but compliance for payment must be highlighted”.
Puche warn: «The diffusion continues to be very poor, only streaming without narration, the schedules do not help with the promotion of the tournament… In general, there is a long way to go to declare that women in Colombia have possibilities to develop professionally in soccer.»
As for the second semester, there will be a Senior World Cup this month and Copa Libertadores in October, but not the League. The former Minister of Sport, Maria Isabel Urrutia, He promised a non-professional tournament, but that idea was not landed. Jaramillo will meet this week with the minister astrid rodriguez.
«We have to talk about it and see the scheme so that the players can be active.» For her part, Manuela González, former soccer player and spokesperson for the Ministry of Sports, said: “The ministry has ratified the presidential mandate that there is a need to improve the conditions of women in women’s soccer. Several conversation spaces have been held and Dimayor and FCF have expressed their willingness to continue the process and for the League to gradually become sustainable.»
Editor of EL TIEMPO