There was a time when the women’s soccer it attracted viewers as much as that male, and maybe more. On Christmas Day 1920, Boxing Day in the UK, the equipment Dick, Kerr Women’s Soccer Club I Ladies of St. Helena they challenged each other in the field of Goodison Parka Liverpoolbefore 53 thousand people.
The birth of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies Football Club: the first women’s soccer team
In Britain, women’s football teams began to form in the last two decades of the 19th century. The first official meeting we know of was in 1895. To give a boost to the presence of women in the world of football was paradoxically the World War I.: while the men were outside, in front, the women they worked in the factory and on breaks or after work they met again and some of them they played football, forming teams related to companies. And that is precisely the case Dick, Kerr Women’s Soccer Cluba team born in 1894 whose players were mainly factory workers from Preston, Lancashirewhere wagons and locomotives were produced in peacetime, ammunition in wartime.
In 1920, the team played four games against a French team led bysports lawyer female Alice Milliat in Deepdale, Stockport, Manchester and then Stamford Bridge. The team then went to France and played in Paris, Roubaix, Le Havre and Rouen. It turned out to be a very popular tour, and when the team returned to England, the excitement for a scheduled Boxing Day match against rivals St Helens at Goodison Park was growing. Few, however, could have foreseenimpact that would have the match on the future of women’s football.
According to the player’s diary Alice Stanley the day of the match would be there 53,000 followers. This match set an attendance record that was not broken for 92 years – until England’s men’s team beat Brazil at Wembley at the 2012 London Olympics ahead of 70,584 – and remains the national match. England’s largest women’s football team.
“The game of football is rather inappropriate for women and should not be encouraged,” said the Football Association.
Women’s football in those years was also one geographically expanding movement: The teams were born in Scotland and started playing in France, but instead of encouraging women’s passion for the sport, the Football Association banned all women’s teams from playing football in 1921 in federation affiliated fields. Football, the Football Association leaders argued, “was not suitable for women and should not be encouraged.”
There Judgment of the FA Advisory Committee “Following complaints about women’s football, the Council was forced to express its strong opinion that Football is rather unsuitable for women and should not be encouraged. There have also been complaints about the conditions under which some matches were organized and played and the allocation of revenue to concepts other than those of a charitable nature. The Council is also of the opinion that an excessive part of the income is absorbed in expenses and an insufficient percentage goes to charity. For these reasons the City Council asks the companies of the Association to deny the use of their bases for these tenders“.
Women’s sports had been tolerated during the years of World War I, but with the return of men to their homes, factories and football fields, the Federation was afraid of losing its audience. The 1921 ban was explained at a 2015 conference at Duke University Jean WilliamsBritish sports historian, had a disproportionate effect on the future of women’s football in the United Kingdom. And even though the Women’s Soccer Association had 44 teams in 1969, the ban only fell 1971.
It wasn’t the first time the FA had tried to ask game restrictions. In the 1890s, the FA Council sent warnings to clubs about using their land for women’s games. In 1902, the FA passed a motion banning mixed games, but there is also evidence that this ban has also been extended to the use of FA-affiliated lands by women.