Friday, 25 January 2013

The Pro's in Women's Football- not there to be nice

The lowly status of the women's version of our national game is to be honest a disgrace. I have commented before about the huge inequality in cycling, where Sky pour millions into a men's team while our world class women are basically semi pro. Nicole Cooke, a world and Olympic cycling champion, winner of the Women's Giro d'Italia in a good year pulled down £50k! Brad's sideburns earned more last year.

But the differences in earning power between  the top men and women is even greater in Football in this country. TV revenue drives football and has done for a very long time, and it has all been about the boys. So it is great news that there is a decent deal being put together for the women's Super League.

That presenters of the status of Clare Balding is getting behind it can only be a good thing. Balding set out what she thought were the attractions of women's football to those jaded by the excesses of the men's game. These included less diving, racism, spitting, and abusing the ref. All to be applauded. As a game fashioned in the 21st rather than the 19th Century I hope it will long keep racism (and homophobia and sexism) away.

But I also think she was missing the point. The Corinthian ideal is so much easier when nobody is watching, nobody is paying and the outcome matters only to those on the pitch. For me the sign that women's football has made it will the day that in a cauldron atmosphere a gifted super star buys a soft penalty, the opposition surround the ref, and the next day it is headline news. Why? Because then we will know it matters. We will know it  has moved out of the list off things we will politely support, to something a lot of people actually care about.