Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWomen's and Men's football - why the battle? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Women's and Men's football - why the battle? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Women’s and Men’s football – why the battle?

It seems when it comes to discussions concerning the merits of both the men’s and women’s game you have to very much nail your colours to the mast – with their apparently being no middle ground fence sitting allowed in this discussion.

On the one hand you have those doing everything they can to knock the feminine game and on the other there are those who are keen follows of that game and who will work endlessly to play on any possible advantage women’s football has over the men’s game.

Women’s football supporters will claim you get none of the over dramatic diving and referee back chat, the players are not over paid and there is still a sense that the game is very much played by everyday people. Then on the other side of the fence we have those who will attack the perceived lack of quality of female football, stating it is a million miles away from the men’s game. Both of these arguments do have some truth in them of course; for it would be foolish to suggest that the women’s game generates the same quality of football as the men’s, whilst it is quite clear that men’s football contains a far greater degree of some of modern footballs biggest evils.

That said the quality of football in the women’s game has improved quite dramatically in recent years – which is only natural as the popularity and the seriousness of the game has risen. This increased interest has not only helped with a vast improvement of technical ability but also in the general athleticism of the game. As for the defense of the arguments thrown at the men’s game it should not be ignored that the stakes are indescribably higher here – in terms of the ridiculous sums of money on the line, the greater levels of media coverage and that the fan base is significantly greater than that of women’s football. These high stakes unfortunately have brought about a dark side to the game – however there are still endless good stories within the men’s game whilst a large proportion are playing the game for the right reasons, it is just a shame that the media these days only has an interest in the negative stereotype and the stories that fit it.

As women’s football continues to increase at the alarming popularity as it is, the negative aspects of male football are more than likely to sneak into the women’s game as it grows. There will be those who argue that the difference between the games is the behaviour between genders but I would call that lazy stereotyping – for this is far more to it than that. Those who refuse to acknowledge the women’s game though also have questions to answer – you only have to witness a top quality women’s game for evidence of that. I had that pleasure when witnessing the Olympic final last summer between Japan and the USA, a terrific contest between the technical brilliance of the Japanese and the power of the Americans. In the end The States prevailed and avenged their World Cup loss but this was a real high quality contest that had it been played by men would have drawn vast plaudits from the critics – with the movement and vision of Japan quite something to behold. Nevertheless there were still those in the stands keen to jump on every tiny error they could, claiming such situations would not have occurred in the men’s game.

In all this it seems to be forgotten that this is the same sport, yes of course there are differences in the way it is played just as there are in other sports. It is hard to imagine another sport where there is such a debate between the gender versions of it; for example in cricket there are obvious differences between the games for example the number of boundaries being hit – yet both the women’s and men’s game is viewed with respect by supporters of both and it many cases are seen as they should – simply a game of cricket.

Football fans and their perceptions could learn a lot from that approach for after all both are in essence the same thing – football. Yes there are differences and there probably always will be but it would be refreshing if one day it could be viewed as just football – without the persistent snipings we are forced to endure from those on both sides of the fence.