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Not Women's Football but Women Playing Football

August 2, 2022 12:00 PM
By Jane Dent

There was a subtlety to the message that shone in lights round the pitch at the Euros "Not Women's Football but Women Playing Football", but it resonated with so many. For decades outlawed by the FA, women are now playing at the highest level. They are playing football not 'Women's' football, a lesser version of 'Men's' football.

FootballFootball is football, no matter who is playing. The rules are the same, the competitiveness the same and the hopes are the same. Labels introduce difference where none exists.

Sport is valuable in so many ways; activity, exercise, companionship, membership, inclusion and belonging are all natural attributes. We have had a pandemic of physical health, now we are reaping a secondary one of mental health. We need the attributes of sports as one of the cornerstones of help to survive this crisis.

We need a commitment and political will to determine that sport belongs to all, no matter who or where. Put back sport into schools, stop the decline of girls participating in sport. Halt the catastrophic sell off of school playing fields. Britain has already lost 236 since 2010. Fund our schools properly and fully so that playing fields are not seen as a disposable asset but as an asset for health and education.

Let's demand that the joy that greeted the Euro win translates into long term actions to protect sport in our schools and our communities. Facilitate sport for all.