In the years after the first world war, women’s football was pulling crowds north of 50,000, with players such as Lily Parr and Bella Reay the stars of a burgeoning movement that looked as if it would run parallel to the men. But in 1921 the Football Association, showing the sort of forward-thinking and liberal attitudes it would stick by for years to come, decided the number of people flocking to watch the women could threaten the men, and that it simply was not on. It declared it was its “strong opinion the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”, and banned it from its grounds.
A few clubs – most notably Dick, Kerr Ladies – soldiered on but most disbanded and the women’s game became disparate and uncoordinated, forced to play in parks, snuffed out by the most basic sexism.
By the time the ban was lifted in 1971, the women’s game had 50 years to make up on the men, broadly explaining why it is still catching up in terms of popularity, funding and prominence, at a time when the men’s game is awash with money, attention and fame. Where might it be now without those lost generations?
For the last few weeks,many of us having been getting our footballing fix via The Women’s World Cup. Personally,I’ve not seen a ball kicked but that is down to my shifts and nothing to do with misogyny.
And I can’t help thinking I’ve missed out! It’s the main topic in the sports reports of news bulletins,a major feature in the newspapers and a leading topic of conversation amongst the blokes in the pub. Whodathunkit? To be fair,I’ve managed to catch the odd clip of some of the games,and I have to say I’m impressed.
Not all things though have impressed me. There was the 13-0 drubbing of Thailand by USA,during which I thought the latter behaved quite disgracefully. I get that it’s the World Cup and that the enlargement of the tournament has lead to some shockingly mismatched teams making an appearance-I remember Celtic beating China 6-1,and you really have to read the disgraceful report on that game by Hugh Taylor!-
but that was no excuse for the overcelebrating of the winning team. I hope France give them a damn good thrashing on Friday night and proceed to rub it right in. If they do,I’ll watch a rerun of it. Just for a laugh.
No laughing matter though has been the standard of refereeing,complicated possibly by the adoption of the latest adjustments to the laws. If you thought that Spurs were hard done to for the penalty against them in The Champions League Final,well,thems the rules nowadays. Get used to them. What will take a lot more getting used to is the latest interpretation of VAR,which has been inconsistent at best and downright awful more often. Penalties given for nothing,ordered to be retaken on the strictest of technicalities,offsides awarded or refused for brushing an eyelash. You get the drift.
I’ve never really been in favour of VAR as I think it will disrupt the game,and even as a Celtic supporter who should be in favour of it in order to prevent the endemic honest mistakes of the last decade or twelve,I think it can be manipulated and used pretty much as the officials see fit. What we have seen in this tournament has been a failure of the system rather than deliberate manipulation. FIFA/IFAB will have to make it absolutely clear under which circumstances VAR is applicable,and ensure that it is abided by.
I’ll open the debate on it with a suggestion. Each manager/captain can ask for three adjudications per game. None of the officials can do so while adjudications are still available. If an adjudication is denied,then the total left is reduced by one. If it is upheld then it is not subtracted.
Additionally,officials who get a VAR decision wrong are disciplined in line with the severity of that decision. I don’t know if it will improve the game worldwide,but it bloody might well do so in Scotland!
Above article by BMCUWP. There’s a guest article on some of the original laws due shortly from SOLKITTS. It’s a fascinating read,especially if you think some of the current laws suck!
As always,we welcome guest contributions for our Article of the Day. Mail it to Mahe,be famous for fifteen minutes…