Sport

Women’s Football In The UK: Missing Appreciation

A general view of play. Barclays Women’s Super League match between Chelsea Women and of Tottenham Hotspur Women at Stamford Bridge in London, UK – 8th September 2019

Women’s football in the UK has been on the rise over the last few years. From the development of the Women’s Super League (WSL) into a full-time league with professional players to the latest news of the Sky Sports TV deal. So this is good news right?

Not if you look on social media. 

I have no idea when the coverage of women’s football became so controversial. All because of the promotion of the game in the media. The way some social media users go on it’s as if women’s football was a terrible or damaging thing to have in society. 

Growing up, I saw nearly nothing about women’s football. I loved football and wanted to play – but my primary school only offered it to the boys. Once the girls were allowed to join in the boy’s football after school club, and never again. Likewise in senior school, the only term in five years when we were allowed to play football, despite teachers (both men and women) who played and managed football. 

The development and the promotion of the women’s game to me is great. It’s exactly what I would have loved when I was younger. I would have loved to have been able to plan football at school, and only now are we seeing that becoming a reality for a large number of young girls.

However, in my opinion the promotion of the women’s game isn’t good enough. It’s subpar and superficial as media companies try to keep up. Sometimes lacking proper education about the players and teams. 

It’s great to see newspapers giving women’s football more coverage. Especially, to my shock, the Sun, which provides a full page in their goals section every weekend. Featuring match reports from the weekend’s action. 

But, many paper’s coverage is badly lacking. Either barely covering the sport as a whole or not at all. Which is a massive disappointment.

I love football. I’ve always loved football. And this includes women’s football as well as men’s. Just like it includes under 18 and 23 football. It’s all the same game at the end of the same day. 

Proper football fans should be able to support women’s football teams. Why shouldn’t you support your club’s women’s team? Because they are women? Or because fans are so spoiled from Premier League football that not having a £50 million player warming the bench isn’t proper football to them?

Of course women’s football wouldn’t be on the same scale as men’s. In terms of promotion and quality. A situation down to the Football Association (FA) when in 1921 when they banned the sport for 50 years, at a time women’s football was as popular as men’s.

People and fans have the right of course not to care about women’s football. If they don’t enjoy it for whatever reason that’s their choice. But do they really have to yell about the fact they don’t care? Searching for articles online just to comment on sexist comments, or moan about the fact that they don’t care. What is the point?

The abuse some women’s footballers receive (as well as the sport itself) is shocking. And can be disgusting at times, with former England Chelsea player Karen Carney receiving both death and rape threats after Chelsea’s win over Florentina in the Women’s UEFA Champions League in 2018.

Women’s football is on the rise. Standards are improving yearly, as it slowly attempts to close the 50-year lead men’s football has. Football fans shouldn’t complain about this. More football to watch is surely a great thing!

Football is the beautiful game. 

This includes women’s football.

This weekend every single WSL and Women’s Championship game are on at different times. Including the first game at Old Trafford for Manchester United when they face West Ham, a second trip to The Tottenham Hotspur stadium for Tottenham and Arsenal in the North London Derby and a relegation fight between Birmingham City and Bristol City. 

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