Why do the BBC not show more women’s football?

In previous posts I have talked about the depression that overcomes many football fans when the season finishes. Sometimes we get the joy of a tournament over the summer. For the men’s game this was not the case this year but the women’s Euro 2013 tournament is on and I feel that will keep me going. The more exciting thing is that one match each day is shown on BBC Three. Some people laugh or give derogatory looks when I say I am excited about the women’s Euro 2013 and I really struggle to see why. My history of enjoying watching the women’s game started some about six years ago when the women’s World Cup was on. I was shocked by the lack of skill and indeed concerned at the flapping nature of the goalkeepers. Four years later it was on again and I decided to try once more. To my surprise the standard had raised immeasurably and, although not as good as the men’s game in my opinion, it was an exciting spectacle with some very skillful players. Turn the attention a year later and we have the Olympics and now Euro 2013. At each viewing it is clear that the quality of the game is improving. Even so that now goalkeepers are flying across the air and tipping shots over the bar, something I never saw six years ago.

To my dismay I was just reading a post about England’s loss to Spain and some of the comments were simply unfair. Yes I understand that Hope Powell said that the women were far more technical than the men which at the present stage of development in the two versions of the game is simply untrue. But it is true that the England Women’s team are much more of a force within world football than the England Men’s team. Comments seemed to centre around a lack of skill, goalkeepers being poor and the team being tactically unaware. Did any of these people watch the game or were they just men trying to be macho by laughing at our so-called weaker sex? What I saw, admittedly only from the highlights, was some mistakes being made but mostly great long balls which the men could really learn from, strong finishes for goals, sweet through balls and teams that wanted to win. Yes there are still some improvements to be made, particularly in goalkeeping, but to say these guys are a joke is not only untrue but downright offensive. Is it that we still have people living in the dark ages who are sexist beyond belief or is it that some people cannot understand that a woman could be better at football than they would ever be? I love the beautiful game and I don’t think I am terrible at it but every woman on that pitch could run rings around me. Let’s just accept that women can be as good at football as men are. I think some of these people would be lucky to even be HABs (husbands and boyfriends….see what I did there?!). I understand that the own goal at the end was a little laughable but in the men’s game would that not have been a foul? I recon that those people who were chuckling about it would have been up screaming and blaming the referee in a men’s game. Is it simply one rule for one and another rule for another? Were are getting into alarming territory there.

One comment that made me think was about the development of the women’s game. There is now a Super League which is great for the game but promotion and relegation have not yet been integrated which makes it pointless for teams who are not in the top few. Apparently this will come in some point in 2014. However, despite some more media coverage of the national team, there is little talk of women’s football. I have seen a few more articles about it on the BBC Sport website but other sites like Sky Sports seem to ignore it altogether. The comment I mentioned previously was about TV rights. The BBC have done well to show many Euro 2013 games so why not have live games, or at least highlights, from the Women’s Super League? The game needs a promotional boost and as it is play over the summer then I am sure many men would watch the highlights or live games in the depressed stage when there is no men’s football. This may build their interest in it and thus build the brand and the game. It surely can’t be that hard to organise as they have managed to show the Euro 2013 games as well as showing highlights on the BBC Sport website. I for one would be much happier watching women’s football then countless repeats of old comedy shows and reality trash like Don’t Tell the Bride and Barely Legal Drivers. Speaking as a teacher with female pupils who play football, a boost in the women’s game would give not only entertainment value but show young girls that they can do what they like and be who they want to be. More importantly, increasing the popularity of women’s may just give our young females some stronger role models than the glut of orange skinned, pink lipped women in short dresses who’s only claim to fame is that they can down a pint as fast as any drunken fella and show off their knickers far too often!

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