Football: A Man’s Sport?

The very first women’s football game took place in 1895, North vs. South, and from then on began a new era in the world of women’s sport.

In the early 20th century, women started to take an interest into the male-dominated sport. It wasn’t until 1921 when the Football Association (FA) banned women from playing football on associated grounds as it was deemed “unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged. (FA) ” This didn’t stop Patricia Gregory who, when in the crowd at Tottenham Town Hall, after the Spurs’ FA Cup win in 1967, thought “why don’t women play football.” She wrote a letter to the local newspaper to ask the question, which was then printed. Gregory received a number of replies asking to join her team, so she started a team; however, it hit a dead end when the ban was enforced. Gregory became a founding member of the Women’s Football Association which after two years campaigning resulted in the lifting of the ban in 1971.

During this time, the first ever women’s FA Cup final took place, after 44 member clubs join to form the Women’s Football Association. From then on the world of women’s football develops into the most popular sport for both girls and women; launching a national league, and uniting with the FA to form the FA Women’s Super League in 2011.

But how significant is women’s football compared to men’s? In every sport there is sexism, but especially in football. Why do male footballers earn more? The average male footballer earns £30,000 per week; however the average female footballer earns only £20,000 in a year. So why is this? To put it simply, it’s just not as popular; women’s football doesn’t receive half the coverage that men’s does. David Beckham is the world’s most renowned footballer and has scored seventeen goals for the England Team. Rachel Yankey, who plays for the Arsenal and England Ladies, has also scored 17 goals for England, but yet she is hardly recognised for her talents, and she will never earn as much as Beckham does.

Even though women’s football is receiving more attention, the standard of play is constantly compared to the men’s games. Women’s football is less violent and slower but women are far more agile and technically able. But, do women “dive” as much as men? In a recent study researchers reviewed 47 matches from the Women’s World Cups and compared the injury rates with the men’s matches in regional games. The result was that men scored an average of 11.3 apparent injuries, whereas women had less than half, at 5.7 injuries. Is this one of the reasons that men’s football is far more popular than women’s; because it’s more dramatic?

Should women’s football be promoted more? Is it less popular because of the physical inequalities between both men and women? However, at the London 2012 Olympics, both the Great Britain men’s and women’s team came 5th in the final results of the Olympic Football, so why aren’t we seen as equal? Is football really a man’s sport?

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