Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where the ladies at?

It will not be too much of a surprise when I say that Football is very much an old boys club. Women had not been well represented in the game until the late 1980's when FIFA finally sanctioned the Women's World Cup, which to this day is still under valued as a tournament. This post however is not about the women's game as it is still growing in size and competitors; I'm talking about how women are being represented at the "big cup". For all its talk of bringing equality and fair play to the game FIFA has seemingly forgotten women in this equation. If you scan the FIFA officials, team officials, venue managers, broadcast partners you will be very hard pressed to find any females period. It is true that this is the men's World Cup and the biggest tournament on earth, but that should not excuse the powers of world football to exclude women. In fact a tournament this size should be a showcase for breaking the male mould of the World Cup.

There is one way women are being shown in the coverage of the World is of course sexy girls dancing in the stands. Now I cannot fault the ladies for being there and supporting their team. No one can seriously argue that fans in the stands are putting down the progression of women in football. What and who you can fault is the media outlets and football structure that does not recognize the accomplishments of women in the modern game. How long can football survive without female representation at its highest levels? If you look at the 32 national that are competing in this years World Cup not one of the heads of the national football federations is female. The top 5 board members of FIFA are all male. There are no female referees or linesmen. None of the English language match commentators are women (Could not find stats of other languages). There are no known female match coordinators. See what I Mean?

Truth be told it will be difficult to see when change will happen within the world game. FIFA is usually slow to react to anything that does not immediately increase the bank account. The National FA's may react faster but if history proves anything the big football nations will stand pat. So it's up to the private corporations to force FIFA and the FA to change. However the question will be do corporations want to hurt their chances of getting their brand in the biggest most watched sporting event in the world? For the future of the game I really hope so.


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