Gemma Fay: 'Women's football deserves more media buy-in'

Gemma Fay
Gemma Fay's international career spanned almost two decades

Goalkeeper Gemma Fay believes Scottish women's football deserves more mainstream media exposure.

Scotland's record cap holder retired from international duty on Tuesday at the age of 35.

And Fay admits it is "still a bit of a battle" to raise the profile of the women's game in her homeland.

"When do we get that [media] buy-in to say, 'look, this is a good product we want to be involved in and promote'?" Fay told BBC Scotland.

"We often get asked by media, how hard is it to raise the profile? The question kind of goes 360, because the people that can raise the profile are the media.

"We're at that stage now, post-Women's Euros, where there should be some more buy-in from the media. I hope to see more mainstream television coverage, certainly of the national team."

Fay played the final match of 19-year international career in July, when Scotland Women bowed out of the European Championship - their first major tournament finals - despite a 1-0 victory over Spain.

"What has been accepted in women's football is that previously perhaps we didn't have a product that was good enough to profile," Fay added. "That's not the case now.

"You've got two Scottish teams in Europe, Hibernian Ladies and Glasgow City, the standard of the Scottish Women's Premier League is improving year on year.

"Perhaps not the whole league should be televised, but there are certainly games there that are worth televising and worth that exposure, because the quality and technical ability of these players are really good.

"The only way you're going to inspire people to get involved in women's football is to have that exposure. It would be good that beyond the national team, the good work that's happening in the clubs is reported, and not just when clubs are in Europe.

"With that, hopefully, comes more investment into the game, not just from the Scottish FA and public sources, but from external sources and sponsors."

Scotland Women
Scotland Women were eliminated from the Women's Euros despite beating Spain in their final group match

Attendance figures in the female Scottish top flight seldom exceed 200, but Fay insists the task of growing the women's game extends beyond cold statistics.

"We could look at the ratio for what's spent on men's football budgets compared with the attendances for Scottish Premiership games," Fay contested. "If you look at the bottom six, I don't think they're particularly high yet there's a budget set aside for that.

"It's not just about attendance figures - let's just say, on average 50% of the population is female. If we're even just saying it's for a female audience, and maybe 25% of that 50% might be slightly interested to watch this football, maybe it's worth a punt.

"In Scotland we need to stop procrastinating and saying, 'what if this, what if that', and giving something a shot. Why not believe we can make something of it? Why not believe it can be better than it is right now? Because it can."

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