National Leagues around the World
At the 2007 Women’s World Cup, FIFA President Sepp Blatter declared a critical need for many countries to establish national women’s leagues. Though most begin as amateur loops, as they mature into semiprofessional organizations, top players can earn some money from the game and decrease their workloads. In many European countries, the youth division has been a focus of growth efforts, and these have resulted in a solid increase in numbers. Now these young players need a top level league to aspire to, or they could give up the game. These leagues also act as the primary provider for future national team squads.
In northern Europe, when UEFA encouraged their members to start supporting the game in the 1970s, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Sweden stepped forward and built structures to support the sport over the next couple of decades, more than ten years ahead of the North Americans. Sweden, Norway, and Germany in particular developed a strong base of young female players. Their efforts have brought World or European titles at the national team level, and all three countries have high quality national leagues. Germany probably came the furthest: women players had been banned from forming a national league in 1955, with the FA explaining at the time, “The attractiveness of women, their bodies,