IT IS possible the butchery in the First World War trenches made gentlemen in authority squeamish about their womenfolk hurting themselves.
But that can’t be the only reason for the ban on women’s football in 1921, even though the FA did claim: “The game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”
Karren Brady writes exclusively for SunSportCredit: The Sun
The WSL TV deal is a massive coup for the women’s game but the Premier League should be helping them maximise itCredit: Getty
There were suggestions that the women’s semi-professional game was becoming too popular.
Why, one match actually totted up an attendance of 53,000. Few First Division fixtures drew that many spectators back then.
Yet, I’d allow the reason they gave.
Among the middle classes the idea of an active woman was all very well as long as it amounted to healthy walks in the countryside.
Getting bruised, muddied and tackled, well that just wasn’t deemed civilised.
Among the lower orders though, women’s football was quite popular on the understanding that she did the washing, cleaned the house, looked after the children, cooked and didn’t mind her chap having quite a few pints before she went off to play a match!
What that generation, men or women, rich or poor, would make of this week’s announcement of a £7.3million-a-year payment to showcase women’s football on the BBC and Sky, I can only guess.
Something along the lines of “BBC, Sky, television? What are they?”
And the old buffers who thought we had chicken-strong bones, no co-ordination and couldn’t kick the skin off a rice pudding, might guess it was a follow-up to HG Wells’ War of the Worlds.
In some ways it is, and we girls are winning it. The WSL has a financial deal that is a high line across the world.
The Women’s Super League is not yet the biggest women’s club domestic competition in the world — but it will be. Soon.
The Premier League enjoyed meteoric growth soon after it was founded in 1992.
It did so by going it alone, to begin with you might say selfishly, but it worked because the clubs acted with one voice as they liked the motive of driving the Premier League to be the most successful football league in the world.
An ambition which has been achieved.
Seventy per cent more people watch the PL than the Champions League, and the PL global audience is more than that of LaLiga, Serie A and Bundesliga combined!
It saddens me that a few PL clubs are rebelling in the interest of what they believe will be greater returns for them personally, ignoring the fact that there is strength in unity and, that regardless of personal wealth, it is not they but everyday fans who pay for the League’s success.
So, if the WSL wants to be a global brand it must be single-minded.
The Women’s Super League has landed a landmark broadcasting deal with Sky Sports and the BBCCredit: Getty
The FA have been a great help in netting a contract which guarantees televised women’s football on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday basis. The coup was to get 18 matches on BBC1 and BBC2 and 44 games on Sky.
Much less helpful is the fact that the WSL will only get 37.5 per cent of the money raised from the sale of their own TV rights, because the FA have decided to keep the rest.
To do God knows what with!
What a shame the FA don’t have the vision to keep all the money in the WSL and use it to drive the League into being a massive global brand.
In the three years of its existence, its growth has been a phenomenon.
Fine players are already here.
One of the very best, Pernille Harder, has just joined Chelsea, and more will be attracted by the highest wages in the world along with the quality of play.
Every WSL club loses money and is subsidised by the men’s game but you don’t have to be Bill Gates to see a great future in this League.
A future that will only be realised if the running of it is handed over to the Premier League.
So, in the centenary of the FA ban on women’s football, it’s good to see that the WSL revolution has legs.
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
Liverpool boast the most-valuable squad in the Premier League