New women’s football calendar likely to stifle club game – Fifa must be open to dialogue | Moya Dodd

International plans for 2026-29 will eat into opportunities for professional leagues around the world to develop and prosper

When I played international football for the Matildas, it was seen as a costly and curious side-hobby. We worked full-time and trained most nights. If I needed strapping or ice, I applied it myself. We paid to play in tournaments and take part in training camps. Business class was something you studied after high school if you wanted an office job.

During the Australia v England World Cup semi-final last year – which became Australia’s highest rating TV program in any genre – the contrast could not have been greater. The class of ’23 stepped into the cauldron and put on an unforgettable, high-octane show. The difference? Unlike my generation, these players all came from professional clubs and leagues, living in a training environment with coaching, conditioning, recovery, nutrition and psychology support that we could only dream of (not to mention actual wages).

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