PERSPECTIVE3-5 min to read

Changing the game: the surge in women’s football

As the Lionesses’ prepare for the Euros qualifiers starting this April, we spoke to agent Georgie Hodge about the rise of women’s football since England won the Euros in 2022.

26/03/2024
Female football players

Authors

Victoria Beckett
Editor and Copywriter

One hundred years ago, women were banned from playing football. In 2022, the England team made history by winning the women’s UEFA European Championships and this April the qualifiers for the women’s 2025 Euros will begin.

When asked whether the “Lionesses” win changed her role, Georgie Hodge, Head of Women’s Football at agency CAA Base, replied with a resounding “yes”. “I can’t quite get my head around how many emails, phone calls and WhatsApp messages I had to go through in the aftermath of that win,” she says.

There are now twice as many registered female football teams in England as there were seven years ago, according to recent data from the BBC. Unsurprisingly, the largest increase was the season after the Lionesses won the Euros – with almost 1,500 new teams registering.

Lionesses-win

Georgie is the agent for a number of England players across all age groups, from Under-17s through to the senior England team.

When it comes to the differences between men’s and women’s football, Georgie says that “there is a collective effort being made by all stakeholders to making women’s football an equal playing field when compared to the men’s, be that leagues, clubs, governing bodies or brands.”

Most of the top WSL clubs will share the same facilities as the men, she explains. Both men’s and women’s teams have access to all the necessary resources, such as physios, nutritionists, doctors and psychologists. When it comes to equal pay, she says: “I don’t know when, or if, we will ever get there.”

However, women’s football offers more connectivity between the fans and players than men’s does. “We’ve lost that in the men’s game,” Georgie argues. “If you want to take your five-year-old daughter to a Chelsea women’s game to meet their hero, the chances are you can. In the men’s game, it is virtually impossible. The access just isn’t there anymore.”

This was highlighted at the women’s Euros. “The players were doing laps of honour, engaging with the fans and having pictures with them. There was a moment where the fans felt like they not only knew the players as footballers, but as people. That is something we need to hold on to.”

When asked what she would change about women’s football, Georgie says she would like to see more young girls having the opportunity to play. She would also like the pay disparity between women in different WSL clubs to be reduced. “A top striker at Chelsea and a top striker in the same league but at a lower-end club can have a huge difference in salary,” says Georgie. “This is the case in men’s football too,” she adds. Some female players may take home around £20,000 a year, while others are earning £300,000. This ultimately comes down to the clubs and how much they want to invest in their women’s team, she explains.

Nine years ago, Georgie had a full-time role in marketing and was working as an agent on the side, with the hope that one day women’s football would take off. “I guess I carved out the job for myself,” she says. “It existed in men’s football, but not in women’s. There was no one working as an intermediary between the player and the club, brand or whoever it may be to represent them. I guess I took a punt on it. Fortunately, it’s paying off.”

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Authors

Victoria Beckett
Editor and Copywriter

Topics

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