Barcelona's Champions League win boosts women's football in Spain

Yesterday, I started the day by phoning María Tersa Andreu, goalkeeper for Barça women's team during the years when Ramallets coached the side. In 1980, she and four other enthusiasts made an all-night trip to Madrid in a utility vehicle to ask the Federation to set up a women's committee. One of the applicants, a player's brother, was a member of parliament for the PSOE and the Federation saw him as the bad guy. By mid-morning they found themselves desolate in the street. It occurred to them to call García, who offered to give them a ball if they arrived at 21:00 at the local programme in Barcelona. They hurried back, he gave them a ball, attacked Porta, and a committee was set up.

FBL-EUR-C1-WOMEN-CHELSEA-BARCELONA-TROPHYBarcelona's players raise their trophy after winning the UEFA Women's Champions League final between Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona in Gothenburg, Sweden, on May 16, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

Forty long years have passed and the night before last, María Teresa Andreu had the pleasure of seeing her heiresses win the Champions League. She was not in Gothenburg because of the pandemic, but she watched it in the Peña Barcelonista de La Sagrera, in her neighbourhood. After half an hour, already 4-0 up against Chelsea, she recalled that two years earlier, in Budapest, the same girls were losing 4-0 in the same time against Lyon. "Vicky Losada told the coach that they were ready to do whatever it took to win the cup, that they felt they were capable". Thirteen girls have shared the experience of that defeat (1-4) with this 4-0 victory that has given Spanish women's football a new lease of life.

This victory is a godsend now that the creation of the Women's Professional League is under study. The CSD had it in its urgent portfolio, now it will have to do everything possible to make it a reality in September. A structure will have to be created (in principle supervised by the CSD to overcome the tension between the Federation and LaLiga), capable of attracting television and sponsorship revenue. The success of Barça, which found support from the American firm Stanley to build this great team, is encouraging new firms to join Iberdrola, the initial driving force behind the cause. This triumph will mark a before and after in an endeavour that has been going on for several decades.