Think women’s football is boring? That women can’t play at the same level as men? Don’t think anyone’s really interested in watching women play football? These clichés have been around for a while, but there was never any truth to them in the first place. And this will be proven once again on April 29, 2023. But the AXA Women’s Cup Final is not just about watching first-rate football. We have put together a list of seven good reasons why you should go.
This year will see the 47th edition of the Women’s Cup Final – and its popularity is only growing. In 2022, almost 8,000 fans showed up to cheer on the team at the Letzigrund stadium. That's compared to ten years ago, when there were only about 1,400 people in the stands for the Cup Final. So how many will come this year? Obviously we won’t know until it happens. But what we can tell you is that the crowds who come to watch women’s football are getting bigger every year – regardless of whether it’s the AXA Women’s Super League or the national team.
For years, the Women’s Cup Final took place right after the Men’s Cup Final. In 2010, the Swiss Football Association decided to separate the Women’s Final from the Men’s in order to give women’s football more independence and to remove the perception that it’s just a warm-up for the Men’s Final. So how did it work out? While the men played for the Cup in front of huge crowds in Bern, Basel or Zurich, the women played in second-class stadiums in Wohlen, Fribourg, Jona or Biel. Starting in 2021, the Cup Final has been held at Zurich Letzigrund – a stadium that gives the women their due.
After the AXA Women’s Cup Final and the last games of the AXA Women’s Super League have cleared the pitch, is the season for women’s football over? Not at all! From July 20 to August 20, 2023, the 9th edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place in Australia and New Zealand. It will also mark only the second time Switzerland has qualified for the final competition. The Cup Final is not just another tournament to keep the players fit before the World Cup; it’s also a way to give people the chance to get to acquainted with women’s football – because at the end of July at the latest, all eyes will be on the Swiss National Team. Those of you who want to be able to show off your football knowledge should start brushing up now.
There is just something very special about a Cup Final. For both men and women. You just never know what’s going to happen: The underdog winds up beating the odds-on favorite, games are decided in a penalty shootout (like in 2017), or goals fall like rain (like in 2022 with 4:1 by FCZ against GC or in 2019 with 5:0 by FCZ against YB). You are assured a grand spectacle when the stakes are all or nothing. And after all: The excitement of a Final only happens once a year.
For many people, the 2022 European Women’s Football Championship was their first real introduction to women’s football. And what an exciting game that was! A record crowd of 87,192 was in attendance at Wembley Stadium for the Final, beating the highest total recorded in either the men’s or women’s editions of the EC Final tournament. Switzerland was able to qualify twice, but did not make the preliminary round. Even if most Swiss National League players have contracts with Clubs outside of Switzerland, some of last year’s EC and future WC players will be in the Cup Final. This is a one-time opportunity to get to see the talented players of today and tomorrow.
If you aren’t able to travel to Letzigrund to see the game on April 29, you’re still in luck. The Swiss TV station SRF will broadcast the Women’s Cup Final live. And what’s more, the AXA Women’s Super League games are regularly broadcast on live TV and online. This includes the upcoming playoff matches, including the playoff final on June 2. This means you can see what’s happening on the pitch from the comfort of your own home. Starting with this season, you can now also watch all the highlights from the AXA Women’s Super League games on AWSL Play.
When the Cup Final kicks off on April 29, the players on the field will all be world class, but they are not professionals. In Switzerland, it is not possible for a female football player to survive on the salary she earns. Not even if her Club wins the Championship or the Cup. All the players in the AXA Women’s Super League are students, apprentices or have a job in an office, a daycare or at a gym. In the article “Work – or Football?”, we portrayed a typical day in the life of a female football player. Juggling football, work and their personal life, standing up for their passion and battling their way to the top – these young women deserve a great amount of respect. This is precisely why these 22 women who are playing for the Cup have earned more attention and more support from us all – either in the stadium or in our living rooms.