It’s been a while since Real Madrid bought the license for a lower league women’s side in Spain last year, so it would become Los Blancos’ new women’s team next season. After it happened, Borussia Dortmund, one of the most important teams in European football, became, in their own words:
“The only top 17 European club not to have a women’s side.”
However, that seems is going to change, as the club has recently announced they’ll take a significant step toward the formation of a women’s team with the release of a comprehensive survey on the issue.
This news are great, but also shocking to hear, as just at this time last year, Dortmund made no reference to any plans to form one, instead preferring to concentrate the fact that:
“Borussia Dortmund has no women’s football history.”
But thanks to the feedback obtained in this survey, it suggests they may be looking to create one now. Among a lengthy series of questions, the club tried to establish; see if fans would have an interest in watching a women’s team, whether they would like to see them take over an existing club or start from scratch, what the values of the team should be and if such a move would be good for other women’s teams from the region, which is historically strong in women’s football.
However, the club told the results would not necessarily be binding.
“The purpose of the survey is to create an opinion on how Borussia Dortmund would like to approach women’s football in the future,” a club’s spokesperson said, “Whether and in what form we will do this is to be presented to the members at the next general meeting.”
The previous general club meeting was in November, where fans raise the issue to the club (as it can be seen in the image above).
“Football is for everyone. Women’s team now” the banner read.
According to the woman who made that banner, a member of ‘Ballspiel.Vereint!’, an anti-discrimination initiative of Dortmund fans, who preferred to remain anonymous, that feeling of club loyalty is part of what makes a women’s team such a necessary addition.
“There are many people like me who go to football because of their club,” the supporter told to the German press, “And I think if there were a women’s club from Borussia Dortmund, people would go to women’s matches now because it is their club.”
“There are also people who just want success who may not go to the women’s team if they start low down and they just want to see Champions League but I think there are some that would support them whatever the level.”
If we think about it, Dortmund’s fan base is considered one of the biggest and most loyal fan base, and they have a decent level of support from men and women alike, so it would be reasonable that this change happens. However, the fan did also note that even when they were unveiling the banner as the men were struggling to a 3-3 draw against bottom of the league Paderborn, one male supporter mocked that the men were “playing like women.”
As well as sexist attitudes, if Dortmund’s really taking the path of creating a new women’s team, they should navigate in a way that doesn’t appear like they are going to trample over some of the well-established teams in the area. Yet, given that eight of the last nine Women’s Champions League winners have been clubs that also have powerful men’s side, with all the financial and brand recognition advantages that brings, it’s clear which way the wind is blowing in women’s football.
“It’s not about success but about the club’s role model function for society,” the unknown supporter said, “I think having real role models will encourage more girls to play. They don’t have to dream about being Marco Reus, they can dream of being a woman who plays for Borussia Dortmund.”
Undoubtedly, Dortmund is just starting, but if it wants to create a successful and game changing team on the women’s football area, they need to take a deep look into the game, and not to rush. Anyhow, the supporter’s words look increasingly possible that, in the not too distant future, those dreams will become reality for some.