Once again, women’s football hit the headlines world wide on Sunday, 17th March. Once again, it was in Spain, where the Wanda Metropolitano welcomed 60.739 spectators to the match between Atlético and Barça.
The attedance was higher than that recorded almost a century ago when 53,000 spectators turned out for the encounter between Kick Kerr’s Ladies and Helen’s Ladies on Boxing Day in Liverpool. This success upset and worried the FA leading them to take the decision to ban its members from allowing women’s matches to be played at their grounds. Naturally enough, the only excuse they came up with was that the sport was unsuitable for the weaker sex. Other countries quickly followed suit and soon the world was deprived of watching women play football.
For many years, women had to make do with playing the sport on waste ground or in parks. Their determination and fervour led them to eventually set up the WFA in 1969. Yet, the FA remained stubborn and still refused to lift the ban. Two years later they had to bow their heads and recognise that women had what it takes to kick a ball as hard as any man.
Spain made their comeback in 1970 but had a longer wait for the Royal Spanish Football Federation to finally recognise them. In fact a full decade went by before the RSFF said sí.
And now everyone wants to recognise that women’s football has potential, can move hearts and above all, can move money. We go back to the old saying money makes the world go round, but in this case we can say, money makes the ball go round!