Nine teams took part in the first season, all of them from the greater Vienna area. But even before the first game could be played, the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) intervened by prohibiting women’s teams from using association spaces. Despite this massive exclusionary measure, the DFU managed to carry out two full championship seasons.
In the following years, the media representation of the girls and women playing soccer was ambivalent, varying between recognition and rejection: On the one hand, the female soccer players were shown respect and game dates were advertised. On the other hand, the articles often degenerated into mockery, ridiculing the achievements of the women athletes with subtle references to the biological differences between women and men. This fact promoted the transmission and consolidation of gender stereotypes in sport which occasionally have an impact even today.
In the end, the early aspirations of the Viennese women soccer players merely remained an attempt to emancipate themselves in the realm of sports. Male officials or coaches repeatedly interfered, thus undermining women’s attempts to organize themselves. Moreover, the female athletes did not correspond to the prevailing image of women, which was supposed to reflect grace and aesthetics. They were frequently exposed to journalistic malice and denied the support of the ÖFB. When the National Socialists ascended to power and women’s soccer was banned in 1938, their ambitions came to an abrupt end. A little later, Ella Zirner-Zwieback, whose fashion house “Maison Zwieback” on Kärntner Strasse had been “Aryanized,” fled from racist persecution to the USA with her son Ludwig. After the end of the war, it took several decades until women’s soccer could be reorganized in the Second Republic. Following a ban on practicing and playing, as well as the deliberate negation by the ÖFB, women’s soccer was finally recognized and institutionally anchored in 1982.