Coronavirus: Women's football won't be killed off by global crisis, vows Euros-winning Dutch boss Wiegman
- Sarina Wiegman won Euro 2017 with Netherlands and she is confident women's football can bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.
Women's football can thrive beyond the coronavirus crisis but must avoid the pitfall of overburdening top players, Netherlands head coach Sarina Wiegman has warned.
For leading European stars, the next five years promise to be intense, with a major tournament each year.
The delayed Tokyo Olympics takes place in 2021, with Netherlands defending their European Championship title in 2022, followed by a World Cup in 2023, the Paris Olympics in 2024, and Euro 2025 capping off a hectic period.
Wiegman told Stats Perform: "I think we have a very big challenge, because in theory we have five tournaments in five years in a row, which means we have a challenge to see and work out when the break [can come] for the players and other people who work very intensely in the women’s game."
She welcomed the move to switch the Euro 2021 tournament in England to new 2022 dates, saying: "Then I think we have our own stage, our own platform with the women's game. There's no competition with other football tournaments and I think that's what the women’s game deserves."
That tournament will take place in July, in a year when the men's World Cup is contested across November and December.
And while 50-year-old Wiegman, who led the Dutch to glory at home three years ago, is relishing a European Championship title defence, she is determined to guard the players' welfare.
"We need to take responsibility for players," she said. "We all want to have our top players in the main games, which is the tournaments, which is Champions League, which is top games in competition.
"Players want that too, the fans want that, and the coaches want that.
"But if we keep pushing them and keep giving load on them without any holiday or rest, then we're going to have a problem and a chance of not having the best players at a time when we want them to shine."