If you’re over the age of 53, you’ll remember a time when women were forbidden from playing football in England, a fact that seems almost comical in light of the historic weekend that’s upon us.
In 1921, the Football Association declared, “Football is not a suitable game for females and should not be encouraged,” thereby announcing a ban that remained in place for nearly five decades.
Fast forward another fifty years, and the landscape couldn’t be more different. Now, England’s Lionesses, already crowned as European champions, stand on the verge of worldwide triumph with the Women’s World Cup final against Spain scheduled for Sunday.
But how did we arrive at this moment?
A Young Pioneer: Patricia Gregory
1966 marked the year when England won the men’s World Cup, and a young woman named Patricia Gregory was inspired by it. At 19, she questioned why women weren’t allowed to play football and actively sought players for a women’s team. Despite initial obstacles, Gregory managed to secure a pitch, eventually running a women’s football league and even founding the Women’s FA in 1969.
The 90s: A Period of Hope and Change
The first official England women’s side played in 1972, but it wasn’t until 26 years later that a full-time head coach was appointed. Enter Hope Powell. Her tenure saw England participate in two World Cups and four European Championships, making her a central figure in the growth of women’s football in England.
A Glimpse of the Future: The 2005 Euros
Hosted by England, the 2005 Women’s Euros displayed a promising future. Despite some controversies and disappointments, it marked a beginning.
The Inception of England Contracts
By 2009, significant players were awarded central contracts by the FA. These contracts allowed players to focus on football, marking a crucial step forward.
The Women’s Super League Begins
The Women’s Super League (WSL) launched in 2011 with semi-professional teams and specific licensing criteria. It was a significant milestone for women’s football in England.
Wembley Welcomes Women
In 2014, England women played their first international match at the new Wembley. Though they lost, it was a significant moment, with attendance numbers increasing in subsequent games.
The WSL Becomes Professional
2018 saw the WSL transition to full-time professional status. By 2022, the average WSL player was earning £47,000 a year, and attendances soared by 267%.
Sarina Wiegman and the Euros
On the Brink of World Cup Glory?
Now, as the final approaches, the Lionesses have a unique chance to become the first senior England side to win the World Cup since 1966 – a time when women were barred from the sport.
Perhaps it’s time to embrace the reality: Football is, indeed, suitable for females.
For the latest updates on the Women’s World Cup, visit [here].
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Women’s football in England
What led to the creation of the Women’s FA in England?
When did the Women’s Super League (WSL) become professional?
The Women’s Super League transitioned to full-time professional status in the summer of 2018, marking a significant step forward for the sport.
Who was the first full-time head coach for the England women’s side?
Hope Powell became the first full-time head coach for the England women’s side, taking charge in 1998 and leading the team to various international tournaments over her 15-year tenure.
When did women first play at Wembley Stadium?
England women played their first international match at the new Wembley Stadium in 2014 in a friendly against Germany.
What significant change did central contracts by the FA bring to women’s football in England?
In 2009, the FA awarded central contracts to seventeen players. These contracts, along with salaries, allowed players to focus more on football, taking a significant step towards professionalizing the women’s game.
How did Sarina Wiegman contribute to England’s success in women’s football?
Sarina Wiegman was appointed as England’s head coach in September 2021 and led the team to historic success, including winning Euro 2022. Her track record and leadership contributed substantially to England’s recent achievements in women’s football.