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More than half of female players have been bumped off a pitch for a men’s team – we need parity

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Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 11:40:15 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 11:40:15

Women are twice as likely as men to consider quitting football because of the problem of pitch access Kick On Pitch access wasn’t a problem for me when I played in a boys’ team as a kid

Women are twice as likely as men to consider quitting football because of the problem of pitch access

: Kick On

Pitch access wasn’t a problem for me when I played in a boys’ team as a kid. The first time I experienced it was when I was playing for an all-girls’ team. We used to get the 7-9pm slot and the pitch wasn’t even lit up sometimes – and there would be no toilets – so we would do a lot of running sessions down on the beach instead. Even at the start of my senior club football career, we would always get the last slot of 8-10pm after the boys and academy had trained.

With the recent growth of the women’s game, I would have hoped pitch parity would have improved by now, so it was a surprise to find out that more than 50 per cent of women’s players had a pitch booked and then found their slot had been given to a men’s or boys’ team instead. That needs to change straight away. Pitch access needs to be equal, with the same number of training slots for all genders and not bumping slots at the last minute.

Beth Mead and I went to Vicky Park Rangers recently where the girls’ team was kicked off for a boys’ team last year. It highlighted the fact that a lot more work needs to be done – until that happens the game isn’t going to develop.

: Kick On

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