Chelsea star Pernille Harder says the battle for equality in football needs to focus on facilities and opportunities rather than salaries.
The Dane, voted the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for 2020, joined the Blues for a reported world-record fee from German side Wolfsburg last September, strengthening the Londoners’ credentials as Champions League contenders.
She accepts equality in football does not mean women earning the same as men at the top level, but that the facilities at the top end should be equal, as should opportunities to join youth academies.
“The question of equal pay and equal salaries, it will take a while, even if it will ever be the same. Men’s football is just on another level I think,” she said.
“Girls have to fight to find places where they can get good training and get good coaches. It’s not really there for them. I think that’s the biggest issue, for girls to be able to get to a really good academy and access the best coaches at an early age.
“I can personally say it was my mum who coached me until I was maybe 14, and nothing against my mum (but) I think there would be better coaches!
“Already at that age you can actually learn a lot. Then further on there is still a big difference between how we have it and how men’s teams have it. That’s what we have to focus on.”
Harder praised the set-up at WSL champions Chelsea but said they are still not equal to that of the men’s game
Harder made favourable comparisons between the facilities at Chelsea compared to what she had experienced at 2020 Champions League finalists Wolfsburg, but admitted even there she had seen differences.
“It’s very professional at Chelsea and I think they try to copy how the men are doing it,” she said.
“It’s just the difference that we might have three physios, and they have maybe 15, and we have two pitches and they have 10. So that’s maybe the biggest difference. The set-up is…