With the support of a UEFA research grant, a team from the German Sport University Cologne has shown that female footballers differ little from their male counterparts when it comes to tactical and cognitive aspects of the game.
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"There are so many statements about women’s football and we wanted to check if they were true," says Professor Daniel Memmert, executive head of the Institute of Exercise Training and Sport Informatics at the German Sport University Cologne.
That is the reason he gives for the study he has led, titled ‘A comparison of football-specific tactical performance of women and men in Europe’, which examined 12 high-level matches, six men's, six women's, from the perspectives of tactics and positioning.
Using key performance indicators including number of passes, number of successful passes, pass success rate, number of crosses, number of dribbles, number of clearances and number of shots on target, findings show similarities between the genders.
"With our event and position data, nobody can see if it’s a women’s or men’s match," says Professor Memmert. "Of course, men are stronger than women – that’s obvious – and we didn’t have physical variants like endurance and speed, but from the tactical and cognitive points of view, the football seems very similar. This is surprising and that’s good for women’s football."Read the full report
The UEFA Research Grant Programme
The UEFA Research Grant Programme is designed for academics working in partnership with national associations to deliver research that improves strategic decision-making in European football.
Established to support visionary research on European football, the programme is for anyone working on, or already holding, a PhD who is analysing European football from a variety of academic disciplines. Once completed, the research is shared with the 55 UEFA member associations and is used for growth and development purposes.