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Women's Football History Helen Graham Matthews Women's Football History

© Simon Hopkins, Women's Soccer Scene Media - last updated 11 Mar 2014 17:34 GMT

Helen Graham Matthews (pictured left) is regarded as an early leading light in the Women's game. She setup Mrs Graham's XI as a women's national team, the first recorded game advertised as a Scotland v England international, on 9 May 1881, at Edinburgh's Easter Road ground.
Newspaper archives appear to reveal an 1881 national tour, another well publicised Scotland v England international (see copy newspaper advert below) was played in Liverpool to an overwhelming crowd, admission was 1 shilling (5 pence), that's about £4.50p in 2013 money.
Women's Football History
Of course the Women's game began long before 1881, playing standards were already relatively high by then.
No one really knows just how much further back Women's Football goes, there's evidence early versions of women's football go back many 1000's of years.
Ancient Women's Football
Cave paintings found in the Lascaux caves in France dated to 17,000 years ago seem to depict a football game, gender isn't clear for all the characters shown, perhaps every one played.
Ancient Football 15,000 BC - Women's Football History
Ancient forms of Women's Football appear to have been widely played in numerous countries.
Ancient Greece Women's Football
Below a women is clearly shown playing a ball on an ancient Greek period vase about 2700 years old. To any football player, this looks like goal keeper making a good save, it's not possible to tell from the image if it was an air filled ball, something like we use today.
Ancient Women's Football Goal Keeper 700BC - Women's Football History
Ancient records indicate a pillar was used as a point to strike with the ball, perhaps a means of gaining a point in a competitive game.
Ancient Roman Women's Football
The Romans were heavily influenced by the 'Greeks', it's quite likely the game depicted on the Greek period vase above was adopted as part of Roman sporting activity.
We know from old records the Romans were using air filled footballs more than 2000 years ago, and surprisingly bikini clad girls are shown playing ball games in Roman paintings and mosaics.
The following example was discovered in Sicily and dates to about 300AD (1700 years ago).
Ancient Women's Ball Game 300AD - Women's Football History

Chinese Ancient Football
Chinese women also played football. Tang dynasty records (circa 800AD - 1200 years ago) give some history of their version of football, apparently two different types of goal evolved, one was made with a net between posts and the other was a single post in the middle of the pitch, perhaps like the Greek version.
Chinese women in feudal times were held in low status and excluded from public activity, the exception appears to have been sports where they were allowed to appear in public.
Records show a 17-year-old girl beat a team of Chinese army soldiers.
Ancient Chinese Women's Football 800AD - Women's Football History
Chinese records also tell us how they improved the ball, replacing the feather-stuffed ball with an air-filled ball with two layers, most likely for the same reasons we do today, one airtight skin (rubber) to hold in the air and another (leather) to withstand the game play and protect the softer rubber.
Australian Ancient Football
We know Australian Aboriginal children (girls and boys) played a form of football prior to 1857 when the Marn grook illustration (below) was observed, probably little changed over many 1000's of years before, like much of Aboriginal culture.
Ancient Australian Women's Football - Women's Football History
The etching above was made by German artist Gustav Mützel, who worked from the original sketch of German explorer Johan Wilhelm Theodor Ludwig von Blandowski (1857).
1540 The Queen's Football
The World's Oldest surviving Football (see below) was found behind a panel in Mary Queen of Scots chamber in Stirling Castle (now at the Smith Museum Stirling)
Queen Mary's Football 1540AD - Women's Football History
Queen Mary was known to have an interest in sport, especially football, she recorded a game of football in her royal diaries while at Carlisle Castle, football was then a game for all, apparently everyone including kings and queens were involved.
About 40 years later women playing football was described in a 1580 poem by Sir Philip Sidney (noted for persuading Queen Elizabeth not to marry the French Duke of Anjou):
Tyme there is for all
My mother often sayes
When she, with skirts tuckt very hy
with girles at football playes

1869 Harper's Bazar Women's Sport Feature
Harper's Bazar 1869 Women's Football Feature - Women's Football History
On 28 August 1869, on a mission to publicise women's sport, the American Harper's Bazar magazine ran a women's sports feature which included pictures (artists impressions) of Women Swimming (called 'Bathing' then), competing in a Rowing Race (like the Oxford and Cambridge boat race), Fishing and Playing Football (called 'ball' then).
Harper's Bazar 1869 Women's Football Feature - Women's Football History
Clearly word of Women's Football had reached the USA before 1869. The part image above is extracted from the 1869 American magazine, the artist clearly gave his impression of what he thought women playing football looked like, more realistic dress and footwear can be seen in the following British photos.
To see the full version of the above image  
 click here 
1895 National Team Structure
By 1895 Women's football was well developed with a national team structure, here's an old photo of 'The British Ladies Football Club Northern Team' in 1895
The British Ladies Football Club Northern Team in 1895 - Women's Football History

1917 'Equal with Men's Teams'
1917 media records show many Women's Football teams were playing in local football grounds to capacity crowds, the same as the men's games and generating similar revenues from gate receipts.
Women's teams were good charity fund raisers, for example: Dick Kerr Ladies FC played to 10,000 spectators at Preston North End (Deepdale) 25 Dec 1917 (about £40,000 was raised for wounded soldiers in todays money)
Armstrong's Factory Team - St. James's Park 1917 - Women's Football History
The above match team photo was taken at St James's Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1917, then and now the home of Newcastle United men's team.
Just a few of the very many 1917 women's teams from round the UK are: North Eastern Marine Ladies, Wallsend Slipway Ladies, Whitehaven Ladies, Mossband Munition Girls, Derwent Mills Ladies, Pratchitt's Ladies, Vulcan Shell Girls, Workington Ladies FC, Rocket Ladies FC and Government Rolling Mills Ladies.
1920 Women's International Tour
Dick Kerr Ladies FC toured internationally to France late in 1920 playing French women's teams in front of 62,000 spectators. Unbeaten they returned to streets lined with cheering people on the victory parade route, just as the men's teams do today.
British Pathe News (black and white film) at the time feature the team, this played in cinemas round the UK and was the 'TV News' of it's day (click the image below to see the clip at British Pathe)
Dick Kerr Ladies FC on film 1920 - Women's Football History

Disaster struck in 1921 when TheFA, dominated by the men's game, apparently fearful or jealous of the growing women's success asked FA member clubs to refuse to allow women's games on their football grounds, the ban lasted 50 years.
Despite women playing football for 1000's of years including Queen Mary, TheFA's reported excuse 'to get the women out of the way' published at the time was 'the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged'.
While the women valiantly fought on, they were greatly restricted by not having access to the same football grounds as before.
1937 Women Excluded From TV
In 1937 the men's game benefited from the first televised football game (Arsenal v Arsenal Reserves at Highbury 16 Sep), this was followed by an international between England and Scotland (9 Apr 1938) and TheFA Cup final (30 Apr 1938).
Sadly, the Women's game was not included in TV coverage, the BBC apparently supporting the 'bad' spirit of TheFA ban on the women's game. Of course not getting TV exposure kept the Women's game at the bottom of development and largely out of the public eye.
By 1958 when TV set's were much more common, Men's games were broadcast into many more homes, since then the media exposure has benefited a select group of men's clubs, who have become big commercial enterprises (eg: Manchester United).
NOTE: Broadcasting select men's games focused the public's attention on featured football clubs and over time lead to some demise of local football club attendance, thus local clubs declined, many could no longer afford to compete and the grass roots game in the UK nearly died off. This is partly why the UK men's clubs need to import so many foreign players today.
1969 Women's Football Association
Women's Football Association Mitre Cup Final 1974 - Women's Football History In 1969 a group of 44 women's clubs formed the Women's Football Association (WFA), this was not the first such association, The English Ladies' Football Association preceeded it. The WFA was a next step forwards in the development of the UK women's national game and league structures.
In 1970 seven regional Leagues were represented at the Women's Football Association first AGM.
In 1971 the Women's Football Association held it's first national knock out cup known as the Mitre Trophy.
In 1972 the Women's Football Association launched an official England national team which beat Scotland 3–2 at Greenock.
From 1971 the Mitre Trophy has been dominated by Southampton which has been in the Women's Football Association Cup Final six times, losing only once to the Dens team in 1974.
Also in 1971 after pressure from the Women’s Football Association and UEFA, TheFA lifted it's 50 year ban on Women's Football, however the 'troubles' weren't over.
Nearly 70 teams from England and Wales entered the competition in 1976. Four regional groups were drawn to play to decide the semi finalists which were Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion, Queens Park Rangers v Belle Vue Belles. Southampton played Queens Park in the final at Bedford winning after extra time (2-1), this giving Southampton 5 Mitre Cup wins out of 6.
In 1983 the Women's Football Association affiliated to TheFA (the Football Association).
In 1991 the Women's Football Association established a 24 club National League, the league becoming known as todays Women's Premier League and the Mitre Cup becoming known as TheFA Women's Cup.
In 1993 the Women's Football Association agreed that TheFA could take over the administration of the Women's National League and League Cup competition.
The Women's Football Association understood and intended that the resources and experience of TheFA would help make the most of the already increasing participation in women's football and improve the fortunes of the women's national team.
Note: The women continued to own their clubs, respective leagues and Media rights (the women's clubs are mostly organised on a mutual basis, ie: the members own the clubs)
TheFA's initial efforts did not meet with the approval of key people:
  • The Women's Football Association secretary for 13 years prior to the change, Linda Whitehead is widely reported commenting on TheFA, 'A lot of people felt very bitter. It wasn't what they wanted to do, it was the way they [TheFA] did it — they just rode roughshod all over us'
  • In December 1994 Arsenal Ladies manager Vic Akers is reported to have said: 'They [TheFA] have been in charge 18 months now and they talk about a development plan. But I haven't heard a single word yet about what they actually intend to do'
At this stage Sundays were allocated for women's main match days, when public transport was often poor and thus public attendance and travel to matches difficult, this was a further blow to the restoration of equality for the women's game.
Subsequent attempts by a few to persuade Men's Clubs and TheFA to allow the scheduling of women's games on men's Saturday away game days failed.
1998 Women's Game Sponsors
In 1998 AXA Insurance became a substantial sponsor of the Women's Premier League, funding being administered by TheFA, financial support came mainly in the form of some travel expenses to away games, the league structure required long distance travel. The Women's Premier League clubs played their part in doing a great job of promoting sponsors in return, see Nationwide below.
Note: The typical Women's Premier League club running and development costs were around £10,000 to £20,000 per season much of it being raised by individual clubs with player subscriptions, fund raising events and local sponsors, only a small amount came from the headline sponsors which was approximately the cost of one away game per season which has not changed in a decade (ref: Barrie Newton, Keynsham Town Ladies), thus the women themselves are largely responsible for meeting the costs of developing the women's game.
The Nationwide Building Society took over as the main sponsor in 2003 and benefited from headline billing, the Women's Premier League became known and was advertised as the 'Nationwide Women's Premier League', as the following graphic illustrates.
Nationwide Women's Premier League - Women's Football History
In 2007 Tesco became the main sponsor, 'every little helps' being a substantial under statement, Tesco's contribution like the others before supported the Women's Premier League clubs with contributions towards away game costs.
2001 First Women's Football TV
In 2001 Newport County Ladies FC nick named 'The Strikers' playing in TheFA Premier League, was the first women's club to produce season tickets, these helped raise money to fund costs.
Women's Football Season Ticket 2001 - Women's Football History
In the 2001 / 2002 season Newport County Ladies FC (FA Premier League) showed outstanding initiative becoming the first football club (men's or women's) to have match highlights broadcast online (on Demand TV produced by wvpTV - Women's Soccer Scene Media) to a world wide audience, a world first for women's football.
Despite success, to continue playing it was necessary for Newport County Ladies FC to move 30 miles away and become Merthyr Tydfil LFC in 2003 (apparently Newport stadium facilities were withdrawn), distance and the absence of Sunday public transport made it difficult for supporters to attend games.
On Demand TV match highlight programmes continued to be filmed at Merthyr Tydfil, in the old TV content example below players can be seen wearing their Newport 'Strikers' shirts while playing a Premier League game at Merthyr Tydfil FC ground in 2003.
First Women's Football TV - Women's Football History
To view the example TV content click one of the buttons below:
First Women's Football TV    Mobile, Apple, iPad & SmartTV platforms
First Women's Football TV   Windows Platforms
Note: In 2003 internet speeds were much slower than today thus on demand TV quality was much lower and content shorter.
Note: What happened to Merthyr Tydfil LFC? Late in 2003 it became necessary for The Strikers (Merthyr Tydfil LFC - Premier League Southern Division) to move again (facilities at Merthyr Tydfil being withdrawn), as Cardiff City Bluebirds Men's FC announced Oct 2003: 'The team will now play in Cardiff City Colours under a Bluebirds sponsorship', however, in June 2005 the men's club made a shock announcement, they were immediately withdrawing the women's club from the league shutting the women's club down (without consultation). Unknown to the women, Cardiff City Men's club had registered the women's club as their own and thus the women's club no longer existed in it's own right. The League handed a last chance to the women by extending a deadline for the men's club to cancel the withdrawal request, with no time left to do anything, the men's club demanded the women's club sign an agreement that the men's club could take over the women's club at any time in the future or alternatively they would withdraw the club. Thus one of the most progressive and popular women's clubs in the UK was forced out of existence, the players and fans no longer having a club to go to. The women lost around £250,000 in terms of their personal financial input into the clubs development over the years and the cost of starting again from the bottom. TheFA being aware of the issue sat back and let it happen. (ref: brief summary press release 27 Jul 2005 'Cardiff City Destroy Women's Efforts' a personal view ex women's club press officer). This summary is included solely to illustrate the kind of obstacles women feel they have faced and the destructive impact of some of the men's game on the development of the women's game, for more detail please contact the author. This is not necessarily a view held by Women's Soccer Scene Media.

The 2004 Women's Football Association Cup was televised live on BBC1 nationwide, this was a bit of breakthrough for women's football, it was watched by 2.2 million viewers. This helped lift the image of the women's game.
2005 Fastest Growing Sport
By 2005 women's football was the fastest growing sport and the top female sport in England.
By 2006 1.4 Million Women and Girls were playing some form of football in the UK (26 million worldwide).
2006 Women's Premier League Develops
Nationwide Club Of The Year - Women's Football History By 2006 the hard work by club members (players and staff) at all levels, supporters, sponsors and women's football media had developed the overall game from the grass roots up, something all were entitled to be proud of if not deserving a medal.
The Nationwide Building Society support for the game was widely promoted through the Club's activities and the Women's Football Awards, the adjacent photo records Newcatle United Women's FC achieving Club Of The Year in 2006.
By now many of the Women's Premier League clubs were providing qualified coaches and operated reserve and junior teams with an open door policy to new players, weekly member subscriptions paying much if not all of the overheads.
This was a happy time for many, the clearly developing game giving hope and progress towards greater things and more equality in football.
Spectators were also enjoying exciting and dramatic matches with the 'special difference women bring to the game', the total absence of aggresive and foul fan behaviour sometimes seen in the men's game is one of many differences.
In areas where Sunday transport was not a problem, club match attendence was growing, in some cases dramatically (by Women's Premier League standards).
Much of the above is demonstrated in the match highlights programme below: Coventry City v Wolves FA Cup 3rd Round 3 Dec 2006, note the bubling audience sounds, the players enjoyment and positive body language, the overall atmosphere and the audience numbers when the camera turns at the end. This example has recently been edited up for HDTV, the playing footage is not as clear as today's productions.
Coventry City v Wolves FA Cup 3rd Round 3 Dec 2006 - Women's Football History
To view Coventry City v Wolves FA Cup 3rd Round 3 Dec 2006 (about 9 minutes long) click one of the buttons below:
Coventry City v Wolves FA Cup 3rd Round 3 Dec 2006    Mobile, Apple, iPad & SmartTV platforms
Coventry City v Wolves FA Cup 3rd Round 3 Dec 2006   Windows Platforms
The programme above (and further down) is one of some 500 Women's Football programmes produced by wvpTV - Women's Soccer Scene Media since 2002 and made available through On Demand TV (online). For many clubs over the years this was the only chance of quality TV media exposure to the public (free to web), a low budget investment in the development of the women's game of around £200,000 (in terms of time and expense).
2008 TheFA Acknowledged Causing Incalculable Damage
In 2008 TheFA acknowledged the incalculable damage caused by their 50 year ban on women's football and honoured Lily Parr and the other pioneers of the women's game of the 1920's.
However, at the same time the growing move into playing on Sundays by the men's game in effect took much of the Women's game space and spectators.
2009 Women's Football Standards
In 2009 the high standards of play were clearly visible at many levels in the Women's game.
Below the Women's Premier League in the Women's football Pyramid is the Combination League which feeds the Premier League via promotion and accepts those relegated when they move down.
The happy time and hard work continued, the developing game and TheFA's admission of 'Causing Incalculable Damage' to the Women's Game giving further hope of an improving future for the Women's Game.
In areas where Sunday transport was not a problem, key club match attendence was relatively good as can be seen in the TV content below.
Importantly, the fan's pleasant well behaved atmosphere suitable for all including children is clear to see, so different from many men's games.
The following match highlights programme below illustrates the standard of play as Derby County Ladies defeat Crewe Alexandra Ladies to win the Combination League and promotion to The Women's Premier League. The playing footage has been edited up to HDTV from an older format thus is not as clear as today's productions.
Women's Combination League Derby County v Crewe Alexandra 5 May 2009 - Women's Football History
To view Derby County v Crewe Alexandra 5 May 2009 Combination League (about 20 minutes long) click one of the buttons below:
Women's Combination League Derby County v Crewe Alexandra 5 May 2009    Mobile, Apple, iPad & SmartTV platforms
Women's Combination League Derby County v Crewe Alexandra 5 May 2009   Windows Platforms
2011 20th Anniversary Women's Premier League
Women's Premier Leaguer 20th Anniversary 1991 - 2011 - Women's Football History

The Women's Premier League (WPL) celebrated it's 20th anniversary as the top level in the women's game in 2011.
The Women's Premier League goes directly back to 1991 when the Women's Football Association established the 24 club top level National League, which ultimately became known as the WPL and the National League's Mitre Cup TheFA Women's Cup.
To see a larger version of the WPL Anniversary Picture  
 click here 
Women's Game Full of Excitement
As the following photo shows, in 2011 the Women's game was full of excitement, fast high standard play, dust and spills all adding to the match atmosphere.
The photo (by Mike Gaffney) shows Lincoln playing Arsenal on 4 May 2011, the full photo is certainly worth a 1000 words, the caption: You Must Be Jopking Ref.
Lincoln v Arsenal 4 May 2011 - Women's Football History
To see the full version of the above photo  
 click here 
Note: Lincoln v Arsenal on 4 May 2011 was one of the early inaugural season WSL games with both teams being extracted unchanged from the top level Women's Premier League. (3 years later it's claimed TheFA forced Lincoln to move 35 miles away and establish a partnership with a men's club to meet the new 2014 critera, they thus became Notts County Ladies. The BBC confirms "Many Lincoln Ladies supporters were angered by the move", being striped of their local club and having the prospect of expensive travel.
2011 Women's Super League
Women's Super League Logo - Women's Football History In 2011 TheFA launched the Women’s Super League (known as TheFA WSL) initially based on an eight-team summer competition, which is identified in the media with this WSL logo.
The FA WSL was setup at the outset without any means of relegation or progression, it was simply a closed summer league for clubs invited by the FA.
The apparent difference (in principal) between the existing sporting merit based top flight Women's Premier League and the WSL, is the WSL is entirely owned by TheFA, where as in the Women's Premier League the women own and control their own league and games including the related media rights.
Membership of the new WSL was offered simply on a franchise basis to women's clubs with substantial cash and financial backing (eg: men's clubs or others) and a suitable enclosed stadium. It has been reported that this dictated some of the best playing clubs were excluded.
In 2011 mixed feelings abounded, some excitedly in favour, others fearing being disenfranchised of their longstanding hard work and investment in the top flight Women's Premier Legaue game and their club. The obvious question being asked was why not support the existing and very long standing top flight Women's Premier League.
Some commentators highlighted that the new WSL setup was contrary to UEFA principals, that is, membership, and as later discovered league position was based effectively on money and not sporting merit which UEFA apparently makes mandatory (see note).
Note: Our Checking of UEFA licensing rules in 2013 appears to show, selection MUST be based on Sporting Merit. For example UEFA states: 'Club must for at least three years prior... ...not have been subject to any material alteration undertaken to facilitate its qualification on sporting merit for any competition' (Ref: 2.6.2) and 'subject to qualification on sporting merit' (Ref: 13.5).
It seems these commentators were suggesting (rightly or wrongly) that none of the WSL clubs would qualify for a UEFA Licence because their membership and or league position is not merit based.
TheFA sold the WSL summer season media rights to a minority pay to view channel on a four year exclusive deal (2011 to 2014) for television coverage, thus women's games were not seen by the wider public. This move, while obviously profitable to TheFA, was restrictive to the wider longstanding women's game benefiting from traditional free to air TV media (eg: BBC).
The women's exclusion from main stream TV has been a major development problem since 1937 (first men's football on TV).
Declining Participation
Numerous authorative sources have been reporting that Women's participation in football is declining, just a few examplea are:
The BBC's Dan Roan 8 June 2011: 'Ironically, at a time when the onus on boosting the numbers playing the sport has never been greater, the amount of money being put into grassroots facilities is being reduced.'
The Guardian - 15 September 2011: 'Damian Collins (parliamentary select committee inquiry report into football governance), is sceptical that there is any appetite among the FA's Victorian committee and council structures to yield. You need legislation to restructure the FA.'
The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation in March 2012: 'Women’s participation in sport and physical activity has declined over the last four years'
The obvious question: What part of the decline in women's football is due to the way the women's game is being treated and the longstanding obstacles players and supporters have faced?
2012 Women's Super League Changes
2012 saw further WSL changes not announced by TheFA at the outset, for example: the widely reported dismantling of the existing top level Women's Premier League, thus apparently paving the way for TheFA owned WSL to dominate the women's game and thus the effective removal of the long standing women's top flight from achieving equality with the men (ie: top flight playing in the regular football season with mainstream TV coverage).
TheFA is reportedly attempting to strip the women's top flight of it's name 'The Women's Premier League' by simply insisting the name can't be used, raising the possibility that TheFA ultimately intends to rename the WSL as the 'Women's Premier League', thus the destruction of the existing top flight would be complete.
Surely 'The Women's Premier League' has always been the property of the associated women's clubs since it is they who renamed the original Women's Football Association National Legaue the 'The Women's Premier League' in 1993?
Tim Hillyer wrote (June 2013 FSF): 'For the first time in English football to my knowledge, here was a league [FA WSL] run by TheFA, not by it's member clubs'
Lewes Ladies manager Jacqui Agnew, is reported as saying: 'I voted yes, but TheFA presentation was like, accept this or we will pull everything out'.
Jacqui's comment reminds many older women's football fans of the Women's Football Association secretary for 13 years Linda Whitehead's comment about the way TheFA tookover administration in 1993, 'A lot of people felt very bitter. It wasn't what they wanted to do, it was the way they [TheFA] did it — they just rode roughshod all over us'
2013 Government Ultimatum to TheFA
January 2013 the Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee issues an ultimatum to the game.
John Whittingdale MP, Chair of the Committee, said: 'TheFA - English football's governing body - was in need of urgent reform... ...the Committee was concerned that increasing commercialisation of the game... ...the financial risk-taking by clubs is a threat to the sustainability of football as a family and community orientated game, which it should be. While some progress has been achieved, much greater reform in football is needed to make the game inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grass roots, where it should be.'
2013 Disaster Strikes Again
In 2013 TheFA's ongoing changes to women's football structures drove a storm in women's sporting media, TheFA being slated as 'scandalous', 'bad for the game', 'orchestrating another disaster'. Just one of the many issues driving the storm was:
One of the WSL teams (Doncaster Rovers Belles) had relegation forced upon it after just one game into the 2013 season. The team were to be relegated even if they won the WSL. Many feel this is certainly an effective way of demoralsing a team and ensuring they fail simply because there's little point in playing, 'you are going down whatever'.
At the outset the WSL was setup as a closed league without any means of relegation, thus questions are being asked about the 'legality' of this move by TheFA
Note: The Doncaster Rovers Belles are one of the oldest and most famous Women's Football Teams since 1969 with a big following world wide. They have a stunning record, they lost just one League match in a 15 year period, won the Women's FA Cup six times and helped found the Women's Premier League in 1991.
The Daily Mail Newspaper - Women's Football History The Daily Mail (UK national newspaper) headline put it like this (13 June 2013): 'Manchester City cash muscles into ladies' game as Doncaster Belles are booted out of league (even if they finish top!)'. The Daily Mail appears to make the point that 'cash' dictated membership and position in the WSL.
Even the very respected New Statesman magazine entered the foray and put it like this:
"a scandal, indicative of modern football's abandonment of the basic principle of sporting success"
Vic Akers, Arsenal women's manager is quoted as saying TheFA's decision is 'morally scandalous' and 'unjust'.
Women and Girls Coach for 35 years writes:
" The insanity of male central control of women's football - anywhere, not just England. People who apply today's male professional success standards to a game they have oppressed for 100 years and then call it a failure because it does not measure up. Then they ensure it will not succeed by pulling support from the very thing that will make it grow, the grassroots base and the developmental growth leagues that lead to successful top tier performance "
(ref: C.Coan, Women and Girls Coach for 35 years - saveourwpl.com)
There are too many similar Women's Football 'horror' stories to do them justice in this Women's Football History at this time, but we must mention the very worthy Save Our Women's Premier League campaign.
Save Our Women's Premier League - Women's Football History This is a campaign by the disenfranchised top flight clubs who like Doncaster Rovers Belles feel unfairly treated to say the least.
The campaign appears to be very diplomatically presented (top marks!), but is it hard hitting enough to get the justice deserved or will TheFA carry on regardless?
In blunt summary, the campaign is putting forward that TheFA's current 'destructive' approach to the 'so called development of the game' is the wrong one and propose a better solution, which is outlined as follows:
  • Every Player Counts is a forward thinking strategy that will allow for the retention of the top tier of women's winter football whilst advancing TheFA's overall plans to develop the women's game.
  • At its core is investment in current and future players, club development and pathways to national and international success and we invite TheFA to debate 'Every Player Counts' vs their 'Game Changer'
The Daily Mail reports the WPL 24 Jan 2014: 'We have been coerced into going along with the FA's wishes in a most unethical and unconstitutional way. They [TheFA] implied they would withdraw funding and admin support if they were opposed. And clubs wanting to be in the super league effectively had a gun held to their heads. They were given the impression their bids would be looked upon unfavourably if they voted against the FA resolution. We have repeatedly asked for an inquiry into the whole affair to no avail. WPL clubs will cease to exist with the cuts in funding'
We ask...
Will it take the return of the Women's Football Association and demands for complete equality with the men's game (as existed in the 1920's before TheFA ban on the women's game)?
Will a courageous major sponsor come forwards and support the long standing top flight Women's Premier League?
You can visit the Save Our Women's Premier League website by clicking the logo 'United We Stand' above.
Final Thought...
Since January 2012 The Government has said much to TheFA about the excessive financial risks football clubs are taking which is clearly damaging Football and yet here we have TheFA driving their new WSL into financial risk while at the same time dismantling the existing financially sound mutual based top flight Women's Premier League by imposing the 'risky' WSL over the top.
As John Whittingdale MP said: 'reform in football is needed to make the game inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grass roots, where it should be.'
This is precisely where the existing mutual based Women's Premier League is, 'inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grass roots', it's only problems appear to be it's pending destruction orchestrated by TheFA and the historic obstructions placed in it's path by TheFA and some in the men's game.
TheFA's WSL is certainly NOT 'inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grass roots'.
It's to get worse: documents reveal TheFA plans to provide it's own WSL clubs 56 times more money (£70,000 per club per season) by starving the much better Women's Premier League (inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grass roots) of support (receiving just £1,250), at this point it is worth noting the Olympic Charter.
The OLYMPIC CHARTER: ' The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.'
TheFA is clearly demonstrating it's Destructive Conflict of Interest (according to comentators in the women's game) by favoring it's own WSL over the 'other 98%' of the longstanding women's game and accordingly should be stripped of it's powers, it should simply have a duty to administer the game, it's sole and prime purpose.
In Cooperative News March 1, 2013 Kevin Rye (Development Manager at Supporters Direct) wrote: 'The co-op (mutual) ownership model has proven to be successful in Germany as well, all Bundesliga clubs are owned by their supporters and none of them has entered in administration over the past 42 years. On the other hand, since 1986 there have been 68 cases of TheFA's clubs becoming insolvent.
To be updated and continued.

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