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Guest Blog Article by Hannah Cresswell: Are there fair opportunities in sport for female athletes?

Last Friday at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy, I had a discussion with one of our promising young Goalkeepers, Hannah Cresswell about the frustrations she sees and has observed first hand as an aspiring Female in sport. She so desperately wants to achieve success in her sport, however sees a limited opportunity. I suggested therefore that she write an article for this blog, so she could convey her thoughts to a wider audience and see if others agree with her or perhaps maybe back her in a campaign to get women’s sport better recognised in the UK. Have a read, see what you think and please feel free to post your comments, as Hannah is interested to hear what you think…

My opinion on Women’s sport after playing in Women’s Football from the age of 7 years until now age 16 years old including 4 years at Academy standard, by Hannah Cresswell

Women’s sport has in the past been not always received the support by the public that it has deserved. However this attitude is starting to change, with the popularity in TV viewing and support having grown in recent years. This change in attitude seems to be mostly due to: The Australian Tennis open, where there was a controversy to do with female players putting in more effort before, during and after games compared to the male players; and the 2012 Olympics, which was a big stage for the world to appreciate women’s sport, with each country having women involved in taking part.

However, is it the Government/MPs, who are the ones who are preventing the growth in women’s sport as a whole in the UK? Money is in more abundance in male sport either because of tradition and supposed popularity. For example, at last autumn’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, the women’s teams were given a daily living allowance a third less than their male counterparts; while the winning men’s team took home £616,000 whereas the champion women’s team won just £40,000. Do you call this fair play? Why should people be expected to just accept that women’s sport is rising with no money or structure to support it? What is the point in women wanting to play sport if they can’t go anywhere to take part in it?

What can these young players expect for the future of Women's Sport?

One part of the sports industry the FA, do not (and from my experience, I mean do not!) fund, is the ladies teams, especially to the same extent as the men’s. The FA runs a total of 24 England teams including women’s, youth and disability sides as well as the England senior team. Women’s football is the fastest growing sport in the country, with £4.5 million invested by The FA every year. Over a million women and girls now play football, which should be boosted by the inspiring displays of the national team at the Women’s World Cup in China and the enthusiastic following during the Olympics. This information is on ‘http://www.thefa.com/TheFA/WhoWeAre/WhatTheFADoes’.

£4.5 million to some may seem a lot of money, however if you put this into context, by comparing it to for example, just one of the men’s competitions, the FA Cup, the men’s team gets £4,822,750 just between 32 teams. This is just one competition and also does not include individual players’ pay!

I feel, Women’s sport is not treated with the respect it deserves.

People said they enjoyed watching the women’s events in the Olympics. So what have the Government done about broadcasting it on TV? Absolutely nothing! It’s seldom on BBC or ITV, however maybe about once every month it will be shown on the Sky Sports subscription channels… if you are lucky. It says something when the home of Football can’t even expand a Women’s league to the same extent as the Men’s game.

Just look at what happened in the USA after the Women’s world cup… They set up the WUSA and have developed the structure and facilities for Women’s football dramatically.

It is really disappointing how Women’s Football can’t take off in the country it began. So really the point I am trying to make, is that no matter how much support Women’s sport gets from the public or those eager young female athletes, the lack of money and media will always force it to stay at a lower class status compared to men’s sport. Which ultimately means that talented young women end up walking away from the sport they love.

Do you agree? Will you help me to get people talking about Women’s sport, promoting it, to get the recognition, investment and media help it deserves?

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Team GB football goes for gold?

So the exciting Goalkeeping that is Jack Butland may not have got a start at Euro2012 with two more experienced keepers getting in his way, but he will get the chance now on the Olympic stage.

Birmingham City’s Jack Butland joins the impressive young Middlesbrough Goalkeeper Jason Steele in the newly formed Team GB for this summers Olympics.

Image from www.mfc.co.uk

Could they pick up deserved medals? Well it might not necessarily be Gold with In form Brazilian and Spanish teams. Then again in knockout competitions any one can dream…

The dream though has better odds for the Women’s football under the experienced guidance of Hope Powell, with the chance of watching the great Women’s Goalkeeping talents of Linkoping’s Karen Bardsley and Everton Ladies’ Rachel Brown.

Image from www.corren.se

For years Women’s football has been overshadowed by the Men’s but could the Women now get one over the Men by getting the Gold they deserve?

With the Goalkeepers in both teams they certainly both stand a chance of keeping it tight at the back so they should have the confidence to attack and get the goals needed – so both indeed have every chance of success… So come on Great Britain lets all cheer on these Great Britons!

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