August 9, 2022

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Long-banned England women’s football takes revenge

The English Football Association decreed in 1921 that “the practice of football is wholly unsuitable for women and should not be encouraged”.

On that day, “the FA effectively prevented all affiliated clubs from lending their ground to women’s teams or providing them with any technical or human assistance,” notes Laurent Grün, a professor at the University of Lorraine, on his forum 100 years ago. Published in the book “Lost from Football”. liberation“The ‘ban’ is a symbol of the spectacular neglect that has hit women footballers hard, even as the practice has experienced a significant uptick in the country”, the historian adds. The England Women’s team is one of the oldest teams in the history of women’s football.

Read our article (again) ►“Feminism”: When women started playing soccer

50 years of exile

It was only fifty years later that the English National League decided to reconsider its decision. He also apologized in 2008. But the blow was severe, turning women’s football into a clandestine and neglected practice.

2001 when I made my debut at the highest level. (…) Everything is done by volunteers who work for the love and joy of this sport.
Karen Carney, former England international, consultant

In 2001, at the age of 14 (…) when I made my debut at the highest level, we trained only once a week, we had a match on Sunday, everything was done by volunteers working for this love and happiness. game”Remembered former England international Karen Carney at a forum security guard, Last September. “After two decades, all teams are professional, well paid and players supported by strong staff”He further highlights the great strides made in recent years due to the FA’s pro-active policy.

[Karen Carney, deuxième en partant de la gauche, est une des consultantes les plus célèbres du championnat anglais de foot féminin]

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A real “elevation”

“In the 2010s, the English FA began to semi-professionalise teams”.Sylvain Jamet of the specialist site footfeminin.com remembers having lived in England for twenty years.

The 12-team championship turned professional in 2018 and received a boost in 2019 with the arrival of Barclays Bank as the main sponsor, followed by a new broadcasting deal in 2021, bringing in €23 million a year for English women’s football.

This new deal ‘Gives women’s football the media treatment it needs’References Sylvain Jamet, with “At least two or three matches that emerge every day”The federation puts all the competitions online for free in its application.

Insurers Vitality have named her in the Women’s FA Cup for an undisclosed fee, but “most profitable in its history” by the national media.

Literary magazines have also jumped into the fray. “Three years ago, no national newspapers came to cover league matches. At Arsenal or Chelsea, now there’s the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the BBC, the Telegraph every time.”Journalist mentions.

Launched in 2011, the national championship has enjoyed heavy media coverage since its first season. According to experts, viewership pledges for this new season have skyrocketed by 300%. Statistics that attract more sponsors around the women’s football league in the United Kingdom.

“Brands see women’s sport and its audience as levers to help them achieve their business objectives”Explained Kelly Simmons, Director of Women’s Professional Football at the FA (FA).

The first beneficiaries of this change are obviously the players. “I joined Arsenal five years ago and the league was not yet professional at that time. Especially the progress made last year was very important”The star striker of the Netherlands, Vivienne Miedema (Dutch footballer, an activist fighting for equal pay between players and players, editor’s note) confirms this.

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We have three gyms, an indoor artificial pitch. This is England, what!
Kenza Dali, French selection player for Euro 2022

“We have two assistants, a mental trainer (…) two physiotherapists, a masseuse, a doctor. The staff is a little bigger (than in France) and then, in terms of infrastructure, we are in a big center. Three gyms, an indoor artificial pitch. This is England, what!”West Ham and Everton welcome French Kenza Daly, who is also part of the French selection for this Euro.

Stars but still a modest budget

Like their male counterparts, English clubs now attract the biggest stars, with Bernille Harder and Sam Kerr playing for Chelsea, the three outgoing champions.

The Guardian Last March the FA announced that the prize money for the Women’s Cup would be increased by eight, from £309,000 (€370,000) to £2.5 million (€3 M). As a reminder, the 735 clubs involved in the Men’s Cup will share 15.9 million pounds (19 M€).

Liverpool have not been known for looking after or treating their women well in recent years.
Jürgen Klopp, former footballer, coach

Although investment is limited for the big clubs – Chelsea’s budget is around 7 million euros, and Manchester City or Arsenal less than that – women’s football is an image vector in its own right. When Chelsea changed hands in the spring, takeover candidates had to promise continued investment in the women’s team, and when Liverpool returned to top spot in April, Jurgen Klopp praised them and tackled his direction. “Liverpool haven’t been known for looking after or treating their girls well in recent years. They didn’t go to the Championship (D2) for no reason. We have to make sure we take advantage of this situation.”He slipped into a press conference.

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And more often, Premier League grounds are opened to women’s matches. However Newcastle, in D4, brought more than 22,000 visitors to Saint-James’ Park last May.

2022: Revenge for the Lions?

The 13th edition of the 2022 European Women’s Football Championship or UEFA Women’s Euro will be held from Wednesday July 6 to Sunday July 31, 2022. In the opening game, the English will face the Austrians at Old Trafford, Manchester’s prestigious home ground. Team. As for the final, it will be held at the legendary Wembley Stadium, a stadium they already almost filled in a friendly against Germany in November 2019.

The Lions will be hoping to ride this wave to win their first title after three consecutive defeats in the semi-finals of major tournaments. This time, whatever their decision, we bet the FA will refrain from making similar comments as they did after the 2015 edition. United (1-0) after winning the bronze medal by defeating the Germans.

“Our lionesses are going to become mothers, companions and daughters again today, but they have won another title: Heroine.”, can be read in the post, which caused a huge uproar on the Internet. Among several comments, some tweeters wondered if their male counterparts were ever called “fathers, partners and sons”? Faced with a nasty backlash, the federation managed to retract its tweet…