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Aitana Bonmati calls out Spain for lack of women’s soccer support: ‘I feel like the World Cup was for nothing’

Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati was critical of Spain’s response to the team’s Women’s World Cup win last summer and said that their triumph feels like it was “for nothing” as many failed to capitalize on the historic moment for women’s soccer in the country.

“Unfortunately, I can’t say that much has changed,” she told French publication L’Equipe in a recent interview. She then compared Spain to England, a country where women’s soccer has grown in popularity since the Lionesses won the Euros in 2022.

“We have the example of the English — when they won the Euros, we saw a big change after the success at the national level,” Bonmati said. “There were knock-on effects. Investment in the domestic league, full stadiums when England play. It makes me want it because I can’t say that it is the same here. There is still so much left to do here and I feel like the World Cup was for nothing.”

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The 2023 World Cup final, contested by Spain and England, marked new viewership records for women’s soccer in both countries. In England, that has just been one part of a steady rise for the women’s game as a whole — viewership and attendance tallies are on the rise in the Women’s Super League, with the attendance record being broken on four separate occasions this season alone. Arsenal currently hold the attendance record after more than 60,000 filled the Emirates Stadium this month for a match against Manchester United.

There is comparable demand in Spain — the television audience for last year’s World Cup final peaked at 7.4 million — but Bonmati said organizers of the game have done little to meet possible demand. 

“It all starts with doing things well, promoting the matches properly, wanting to organize them in adequate stadiums, not changing the ground one week before the game — because that makes everything more complicated for the fans,” she said.

Bonmati referenced the RFEF’s relocation of the team’s UEFA Women’s Nations League semifinal from Cadiz to Seville “due to maintenance work” at the stadium originally scheduled to host the match. It left organizers less than two weeks to sell tickets for the match.

“That wouldn’t happen to the men’s team for a Nations League final,” Bonmati argued.

The World Cup’s golden ball winner also said higher-ups in Spanish soccer have done a below average of “promoting the league as well — in the country in general, it is not at the level that we deserve.” While Bonmati’s Barcelona draw big crowds, it is not something all the clubs in Liga F enjoy.

“We have to pay attention to these details,” she said. “When we do these things well, people respond.”

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