Thursday, February 2, 2012

When they banned soccer ...

women soccer football banned liverpool
Dick Kerr Ladies Vs St Helen's Ladies 1920

So just when you think you've heard it all when it comes to things men do to stop women playing sport, you hear another story. A ban on women's soccer anyone? I posted about the ban in Brazil a few months back, and was told this week I could add England to the list.

By 1921, the fledgling game of women's soccer was becoming very popular in the UK - a crowd of over 50,000 jammed a Liverpool stadium for a match in December 1920 and the crowds signalled a surge in interest to rival that in the men's game. But it seems that didn't go down too well with the organising body. The 50-year (oh yes) ban they imposed in July 1921 was a huge setback to the sport's development. No wonder the British teams still struggle to get support with that backdrop. 

According to this Guardian story, part of the ban read: "the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged". Lovely.

Thanks to Brendan Dowling from the Irish Martial Arts Commission (IMAC) for dropping that titbit into an interview with me. I think he was trying to make me see how far women's sport has come! I think ...

That documentary on the Brazilian ban is here. 


Anonymous said...

As I understand it women were banned from playing on Football Association sanctioned grounds, so they were not banned outright, but had to find other grounds were they were allowed to play. I didn't know about the Brazilian ban though. Katharine UK

niamh said...

@Katherine - so sorry for only replying to this now. Thanks for clearing that up, I will look into it again.