An institutional analysis of gender (in)equalities, COVID-19 and governance of elite women's football in Australia, England and the USA

Beth G. Clarkson, Keith D. Parry, Alex Culvin, Stacey Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: Women's football faces an existential threat from COVID-19. Using case studies, the authors explore the COVID-19 responses of three highly ranked national football associations (Australia, England and the USA) and their professional women's football leagues to (a) compare and shed new insights into the wide range of phased responses and (b) establish recommendations for other nations to navigate major crises with their social and ethical responsibilities to women's football.

Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on institutional theory, a framework analysis was undertaken examining 71 articles to analyse the gendered global impacts of COVID-19 on women's football.

Findings: Results highlight several important recommendations for nations to consider during the pandemic: (1) maintain active communication with the community to allay worries about the future of women's football, (2) gather support from health and government officials, (3) seek out commercial and broadcasting partnerships to drive revenue, and (4) the interests of women's football are best served when responsibility for the elite women's league does not rest (solely) with national football associations.

Social implications: The authors argue that sport is an interwoven part of society and cannot be separated from gender equality issues irrespective of the pandemic.

Originality/value: The study is first to explore institutional pressures and football governing bodies during COVID-19 and provides a framework for nations to manage major crises.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalSport, Business and Management: An International Journal
Early online date2 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 2 Feb 2022

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