Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Women's football deserves chance

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin
Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin

The news that Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, as revealed in Wednesday's Belfast Telegraph, is threatening to cut funding for the Irish Football Association unless they give the women's game greater status is admirable.

It also made me feel frustrated, however, that the IFA have to be threatened like this, as surely they should be doing it anyway because it is the right thing to do.

Like most most sports, men's football gets more priority, and certainly more money thrown at it, while there is a sense that women's teams are considered an after thought.

I understand, of course, that women's football isn't as popular, but maybe if it received more funding it could be.

From personal experience I know today lots more girls are keen to play football than previously. The IFA must nurture that enthusiasm.

A school friend of mine, Catherine Sheridan, who plays for the NI U19 women's squad, told me: "It's great to see that women's football is being noticed at high levels and the comments by the Sports Minister shows her support for the game."

It's great to see girls having the confidence to break free from the stereotypical female sports of netball and hockey and getting involved in traditionally male dominated sports such as football.

One day women's football might be as popular here as in Germany, USA and France. Why not? Women are striving for equality in all different aspects of life and while equal status in football might seem like a small issue in the grand scale of things, every little helps.

Further Reading

Irish Football Association must give girls equal status or I'll cut cash: Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin  

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