Confidential plan for the women’s Bundesliga: DFB plans minimum basic salary for female footballers – and much more

As of: February 19, 2024 11:13 a.m

Over the next few days, many eyes will inevitably be on Alexandra Popp, Giulia Gwinn and Lena Oberdorf, who will gather in front of the gates of Frankfurt from Monday (February 19, 2024) to prepare for the important international match in Lyon against France on the DFB campus (Friday 9 p.m./live on First).

The Final Four of the new Women’s Nations League is about a starting place at the Olympics, but also the international competitiveness of German women’s football. The alarm signals are also obvious for the German Football Association (DFB). In order not to lose touch with the women’s Bundesliga, concrete suggestions for improvement have been on the table for some time.

Outsourcing is not a panacea

“We have been working on a concrete growth and professionalization plan for almost a year, which includes a wide range of measures. It involves infrastructural, personnel, media and other framework conditions.”says DFB managing director Holger Blask. The discussion about the confidential paper is ongoing – nothing has been decided yet.

The twelve clubs in the women’s Bundesliga don’t really agree on the course. Tobias Trittel resigned as chairman of the women’s national league committee because development was going too slowly for him. Spicy: The plan presented by the DFB even went further in some points than the thesis paper that Axel Hellmann, board spokesman for Eintracht Frankfurt, and Katja Kraus from the initiative Football can do more had presented – and also brought a possible spin-off from the DFB into play. At this point, however, Blask objects: “A spin-off is not a panacea per se.”

The dynamics in the USA and England are enormous

Blask, however, shares Hellmann’s concern that the women’s Bundesliga has to worry about its competitiveness. In the USA, the National Women’s Super League (NWSL) has a new TV contract worth $240 million over the next four years. In England, the Women’s Super League (WSL) could see a sharp increase from the previous almost twelve million euros annually due to the spin-off.

The world’s best players are already drawn to England or the USA rather than Germany. “In particular, the media rights agreement in the USA and the investment efforts in England bring further momentum to the development of international women’s football”confirms the DFB official, who is very familiar with marketing issues from his DFL days.

High need for more full-time employees

For him the goal is “To anchor women’s football even more firmly in society in this country, to offer the players a framework for their professional sport, to win more fans and in the process to develop the league into an economically self-sustaining system.”

So far, the system within the women’s Bundesliga has been based on subsidies, especially in the licensed clubs: the clubs added an average of around 1.5 million euros in 2021/2022. Personnel costs (1.63 million euros) were higher than total income (1.42 million euros).

However, the investment requirement would be significantly greater if what the DFB is proposing was implemented: for the 2025/2026 season, only stadiums with a capacity of at least 5,000 spectators (including 2,000 seats) would be used, and a light version of the VAR would be introduced from 2026/2027, too Lawn heating and floodlights with 1200 lux would be required.

The workforce should grow for professionalization. In addition to a head coach, the clubs would also have to hire a full-time assistant and goalkeeping coach, physiotherapist, athletic trainer or video analyst. Without going into every detail, Blask says generally: “All measures are aimed at increasing the quality of the league and thus its attractiveness for fans and partners and thus also achieving improved profitability.”

Supercup should come quickly

This also includes a Supercup, a game between champions and cup winners, which is scheduled to take place in the new season. The often-requested increase in the league would be slower. 14 clubs only from the next rights period in 2027, then from 2031 even 16 clubs.

On this issue, Blask is deliberately putting the brakes on a bit, because the quality of the additional games has to grow with it. “Otherwise the increase will lead to a multi-class society that will drift even further apart. In our opinion, there are currently no four more clubs on the doorstep that have the appropriate structures and sporting quality.”

Holger Blask is CEO of DFB GmbH and Co. KG

Germany wants to be the best league in the world

The DFB has identified a gap of 70 years for women’s football compared to men’s football in organization, 34 years in Bundesliga operations and 21 years as a live media product. That explains “both the uneven sporting and economic current situation as well as the growth potential and the urgent need for investments”it says in the introduction.

Germany wants this in the future “best women’s football league in the world” place. An ambitious goal after the collective failure in the Women’s Champions League before the quarter-finals. For the next eight seasons up to the 2030/31 season, the DFB has calculated a financing and investment requirement of 135.8 million euros. At the beginning of December, some club representatives’ mouths were open when they took note of the DFB’s proposals for a minimum basic salary.

62 percent of Bundesliga players earn less than 2,920 euros per month

Accordingly, the options range for a minimum salary of between 2,190 and 3,650 euros – this should go to 22 squad players. That would be a quantum leap in payment. As the paper shows, 62 percent of the players in the women’s Bundesliga earn significantly less than 2,920 euros. Incidentally, 50 percent of clubs would consider 3,000 euros to be an adequate minimum basic salary.

35 percent of players currently earn less than 2,000 euros – this primarily affects younger players who are also studying or in training. Typical are employment relationships with sometimes three-digit expense allowances for the newly promoted 1. FC Nürnberg or the training club SGS Essen.

controversial topic Minimum base salary

Only four percent of all active employees receive five-figure monthly salaries. These are likely to be distributed primarily among the top clubs FC Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg, because there, female squad players who earn less than 3,650 monthly salaries make up less than ten percent.

What Bundesliga players earn
monthly salaryProportion of female players in percent

less than 1000 euros


1000 – 2000 euros


2000 – 3000 euros


3000 – 4000 euros


4000 – 5000 euros


5000 – 10,000 euros


more than 10,000 euros


Blask knows that the introduction of a minimum basic salary would force even clubs such as 1. FC Köln, Bayer Leverkusen, SC Freiburg and Werder Bremen to support women’s football out of conviction to significantly increase their salary budgets on an ad hoc basis.

That’s why he doesn’t want to approach this topic dogmatically. “A minimum basic salary to promote professionalization is part of the considerations. However, the appropriate level and mechanics – like many other aspects – are the subject of our current discussions with the clubs and are by no means already fixed.”

Ambitious schedules

The DFB had drawn up two schedules. The first would have required approval at the end of 2023, then the request for an extraordinary Bundestag would have been received in March, which would have approved the decisions in May – immediately after the award of the 2027 Women’s World Cup and before the start of the 2024 Men’s European Championship.

Now the central decisions for the future viability of the women’s Bundesliga, which inevitably also affects the competitiveness of the national team, can only be made at the end of the year. The association itself warns of further delays “from loss of perspective” and before, “being overtaken by other initiatives”.

Blask: “The women’s Bundesliga has made a huge step forward in the last two years in terms of media visibility and revenue based on national and international media contracts as well as partnerships with the name sponsor Google, EA, Adidas and others. In terms of central marketing revenue, it is currently ahead of Spain , France and just behind the English Women’s Super League. But we can’t rest on our laurels.”