Renate Lingor: “Let us stop talking about women’s football visibility and let’s talk about women’s sport in general”.
Renate Lingor is the Germany women’s national under-19 football team coach, who we have had the pleasure to host during their stay at Cambrils Park Sport Village.
On her shoulders, a successful career: two European Championships and two World Cups with the German national team which she represented in 149 matches, seven Frauen-Bundesliga championships and seven DFB-Pokal der Frauen championships with FFC Frankfurt, her last team. In addition, in 2006 she was nominated FIFA Women’s World Player of the year. How could we resist getting to know her a little better?
“I started playing football almost at the same time I started to walk inspired by mi father and mu brother. My brother, who is a year and a half older than me, was always playing football with his friends and encouraged me to play with them”, Lingor explains.
When she was six years old, her brother’s club coach thought, if she is always playing with them ¿What about her joining the team? And that was the beginning of an unstoppable career. If, as an anecdote we add the fact that women’s football was forbidden in Germany until 1970, shortly before Renate’s birth, we could think that is was a divine sign showing what years later would be her destiny.
Despite her lengthy career and sporting success, Renate stays humble when we ask her about the assessment she would make of her career as a player. She is clear about what weights more in her memory: “More than the nomination to the Women’s World Player, to me, the most important are the championships won as a team, like the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Obviously, it was an honor to be nominated along with Marta Vieira and Kristine Lilly, best players in the world, but the shared moments with the team is what I will always remember”
Most professional teams aren’t managed by former professional players, on the contrary they have more technical profiles. However, Lignor is leading the Germany under-19 national team since 2001, providing her personal and professional experience to a team full of young talents.
“Actually, I never thought about becoming a coach after retirement, I wanted to have more free time and train young boys or girls’ teams to, simply, enjoy. But I started working with FIFA because I am good at organizing, I can identify what the team needs and even though there where some previous steps, I finally decided to manage the under-19 in 2011. Besides, I played in the national team with the other coaches that are part of the staff, so we know each other, and we find it easier to work together”
At this point we couldn’t resist to ask her about women’s football challenges. And her answer shocks us, as realistic as distant to what it is and has been her lifelong passion:
“In my opinion, women’s football must stop comparing itself to men’s football. Because there isn’t any other sport in the world as universal. Everybody knows big teams and stars in men’s football, in the in the most inhospitable corner of the world, they are known. It isn’t realistic to think that women’s football will reach that level. And I don’t see it necessary either. Let us stop talking about women’s football visibility and let’s talk about women’s sport in general. In Germany, for example, women’s football is broadcasted on TV more than men’s handball, athletics or any other women’s sport are. So, compared to other sports, we are still privileged”.
And she adds: “In a Bundesliga match, stadiums seat between 60.000 and 70.000 people. Whereas, in women’s league, if it is a good match, maybe we can reach 3.000 spectators. At the end, we should understand that, if we do not generate the money and interest that men’s football generates, we can’t aspire to win the same salary as men’s stars”.
We close the eternal controversy to say goodbye to this great professional and human being.
Good Luck, Renate