August 9, 2022

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Revenge of England women’s football in Sheffield

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England host Sweden in the semi-finals of the Women’s Euros this Tuesday, July 26, in Sheffield, in the north of England. A historic meeting in more ways than one.

From our special correspondent in Sheffield,

Back to the basics with a bang. It all started in Sheffield. Football was invented and codified in the 19th century. This is where women’s team history is written. An English victory against Sweden would be good revenge for the pioneers of football who swept the field in the region in the 1920s, after the English authorities banned the game for almost 50 years.

Peter and his three daughters watch the game in the fan zone on Tuesday wearing England shirts: We mostly watched sports on TV. It was apparently the biggest crowd the women’s team had ever experienced in the country. Although I found some stadiums to be small. Besides, tickets for this semi-final were not available. »

Stop looking for Peter, tickets, not yet. The event was a huge success and broke all previous Euros attendance records. Still, the allure of women’s football is not new, as Gail Newsham, a true historian of the discipline, recalls: “ Prior to this Euro, the record attendance for a women’s tournament dates back to 1920. At Everton’s Goodison Park stadium, there were 53,000 spectators, with almost 15,000 outside due to lack of space. Almost 70,000 people came to watch the women’s game, which was an incredible achievement. »

The legendary Dick, Kers Ladies

One team represents this incredible success: Dick, Gers Ladies Football Club, named after an munitions factory located in the north of England. ” Women started playing football during World War I. Men were at the forefront and they played charity matches to raise funds and support the war effort. Gail Newsham continues. Dick’s most famous team, the Gers Ladies, was formed in 1917. In 1921 alone, they played 67 matches around the country, and nearly a million people came to see them. »

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But the thinning is short-lived, as women are soon barred from the grasslands, dispossessed for almost 50 years. ” In December 1921 the English FA banned women’s football, deeming it inappropriate for women and should not be promoted. Gail Newsham reminisces. But most of all, at that time, the federation wanted to grow and improve its income, and did not look favorably on the competition of these women’s matches, which attracted more people than most men’s matches. »

Under pressure from UEFA it was necessary to wait until 1971, when women could play again in England, and 2017 for the appearance of a 100% professional division. UEFA panels retrace history of ban in Sheffield They caught Karin’s attention. ” I was aware of this long ban. she says. It’s good for women today to show men that they too can play and play well. We all follow football in this country and the women’s team has caught the attention of the English people. »

The public’s attention and his nine-year-old son, Holly, jersey of the Three Lions on the back. ” I followed almost all the Euro matches. My favorite player is Ellen White. Because she scores a lot of goals! This is my first time competing in a women’s tournament. And it’s really cool to see “, packs the baby. Holly, one lucky child, will be at the stadium with her mother this Tuesday to support Helen White and England, the worthy successors to the Pioneers.