Landmark achievement for women’s football
By Hannah Dingley, Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching and
Last night Great Britain women’s football team beat Brazil 1-0
in front of 70,584 spectators at Wembley.
This was not only a landmark achievement on the pitch but also
off it. The game marked the highest ever attendance for a women’s
match in the UK.
Alarmingly the last time a game attracted a crowd near this
figure was in 1920 when 53,000 watched Dick Kerr's Ladies FC take
on St Helens Ladies at Everton’s Goodison Park.
Only a year later the FA banned women from playing on Football
League grounds stating that “…the game of football is quite
unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged."
This ban was in place for 50 years and it was only in 1993 that
the Football Association fully acknowledged the women's game and
became its governing body.
In a view to promoting the women’s game, in 2011 the FA
introduced the Women’s Super League. This is a semi-professional
league played in the summer months aimed to increase the quality of
football and spectator interest, including a television deal with
Although some games have attracted crowds of over 2,500 the
average attendance is still only around 600. It is also frustrating
that some attitudes do not seemed to have changed much since those
of the FA in the 1920s.
I have a personal interest in the team’s performance as I coach
the central defensive pairing of Casey Stoney and Sophie Bradley at
Lincoln Ladies and indeed Casey is not only her club captain but
also captain of team GB.
Therefore I have witnessed first-hand what committed and
dedicated athletes these girls are.
So let’s get behind the girls for their quarter final on Friday
night and hope these games really do leave a legacy for the image
of women’s football!
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