Tuesdays are for Europe: An exhausting and never-ending conversation about how WoSo gets the short end of the stick
The women's version of the Champions League Round of 16 starts tomorrow.
You can hear it in your head, can’t you? For many, that song gets them excited and represents the pinnacle of the game. For others – usually a certain type of grumpy others that are typically talking to their beer at the end of the bar, or trying to find a stream of the Albanian Cup third qualifying round – the song represents modern football and those that disagree are PART. OF. THE. PROBLEM.
Regardless, the song – the Champions League album, if you are still struggling here – evokes emotions and implies excellence.
So, it would make perfect sense to use that anthem when trying to give a boost to the female version of the same competition, right?
You obviously aren’t an old, white dude at Uefa, if you think that. The women have been specifically banned from playing the Champions League anthem in the Champions League since 2019, even though many of the same clubs are taking part in it.
I mean, on one hand, it doesn’t matter. But, on the other…seriously? What load of out-of-touch nonsense is that? The Champions League should be The Champions League, regardless of what gender is playing in it. Let the women play the anthem so it’s clear that what’s about to happen is the very best that the game has to offer.
At any rate, the women’s side of the Champions League is starting to hit the business end of the competition with the round of 16 starting this week. The fixtures are:
Wolfsburg (GER) vs LSK Kvinner (NOR)
Barcelona (ESP) vs Fortuna Hjørring (DEN)
Rosengård (SWE) vs St. Pölten (AUT)
BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ) vs Bayern München (GER)
Manchester City (ENG) vs Fiorentina (ITA)
Sparta Praha (CZE) vs Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Lyon (FRA, holders) vs Brøndby (DEN)
Chelsea (ENG) vs Atlético de Madrid (ESP)
In the past, these games have been available on YouTube, so there is no reason not to tune in tomorrow. There’s lots to look at if you are a Canadian, too.
Five Canucks are still in the competition. With Kadeisha Buchanan attempting to win the competition with Lyon for a fifth straight season.
Trying to stop her will be Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence at PSG, Janine Beckie at Manchester City and Jesse Fleming at Chelsea.
It won’t be easy. Lyon is an absolute powerhouse in the women’s game. The reason for that is simple. They spend money. You see, the men’s and women’s games aren’t that different. The teams that spend the most win.
Except there is a difference I scale, of course. Lyon’s 10-million Euro spend on the women’s team would rank it somewhere around 300th in terms of wage spending in the men’s game. And, it’s thought to be double what most other women’s teams spend.
So, although some credit goes to clubs like Manchester City, Bayern Munich and PSG for investing in the women’s program, it’s awfully hard to justify their spend being less than a club of Lyon’s size. That’s to say nothing of clubs like Liverpool, where the lack of investment is truly shameful and should be called out at every opportunity.
It’s likely that we will eventually see the biggest European clubs winning this most years, but for now it’s still a competition where the less famous can win. So, enjoy it when you can, while calling for the big clubs to step it up and pay the women what they deserve.
The first game is tomorrow at 10:45am ET.