Armenia’s Football Federation (AFF) has decided against sending women’s football teams to the European championships.
In the past, our 17 and 19 year-old girls’ teams participated in the world championships. The women’s national squad used to play in the European and World Championships.
It is sufficient to note that our national team has played twenty qualifying games in the European Championship; only winning two. They lost fifteen and three were draws.
Even more depressing stats come from the world championship, where the team played eight and lost them all.
Armenia’s national women’s football team first played in 2003 and lost 11-0 against Austria. Losing by scores of 4-0, 5-0, 7-0 and 8-0 are par for the course for Armenian women in international games. In particular, Armenian women footballers have played eight games in the UEFA 2013 European Championship and have lost all by large margins. Our footballers have only scored two goals and have let in 44. The same sad numbers also apply to the 17 and 19 year-olds.
The reasons are clear. Women’s football in Armenia has never been placed on a firm footing. During the last years of the Soviet Union and after independence, when women’s football had just been introduced, the teams “Nairi”, “Nork”, and Aparan’s “Nig” were famous. These, however, never registered any great success and couldn’t have, given that women’s football was a new feature in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Things got worse in the 1990s. It is of note that only the teams “Banants” and “Koledj” have been playing in recent years.
The reason that the national teams have been so weak is the near absence of club teams and because there is no women’s championship in Armenia. At the core of the problem, however, is the national mentality. As a result, only a few girls go out for football. In addition, there are no finances invested. This too derives from the national mentality. UEFA and FIFA, in addition to other resources, allocate funds designed to help spur women’s football. Since these are the only investments being made, however, the ball remains where it is.
During an event held at the end of last year where UEFA representatives were present, Marina Tashchyan, the Head of the National Teams, noted that the AFF had been right in placing an emphasis on the younger girls. She said that Armenia now has five girls’ teams.
The approach is correct. Without kids’ football it is tough to picture the formation of any serious professional teams.
On the other hand, the steps being taken are too few to predict what awaits women’s football in Armenia. Without serious investment (and we are talking private investment, since the government doesn’t even finance men’s football), there will be no progress.
In September 2011, AFF President Ruben Hayrapetyan said the following in response to a question about women’s football: “Women’s football in Armenia hasn’t developed nor will it. I have no desire to promote it.”
That, football fans, is the dog-gone truth.