Women’s football – is it time to change the goalposts, or should the game simply be appreciated in its own right? - SportsHotels - The sports accommodation experts

Women’s football – is it time to change the goalposts, or should the game simply be appreciated in its own right?

The Lionesses have set the UK alight, but it’s not just in Britain that women’s football is finding more space and recognition, it’s across the world – just look at the enthusiasm for the recent Fifa World Cup.

But despite the delight at the development of the women’s game, football has always been characterised by a significant gap between men’s and women’s competitions – a difference that is evident in the level of competitiveness, growth, and revenues.

The differences between the sexes have long been debated, and can lead to acrimonious discussion, even when the premises which are addressed are well-intentioned.

However, differences there are, and they will always remain – the average male height in the UK is 5 ft 9 in, compared to 5 ft 3 in for a woman – and issues such as physical stamina and endurance must reasonably be taken into consideration.

So, is it fair to ask if the parameters of the game should be changed to take women’s different physical attributes into account? Should, for instance, goal and pitch sizes be made smaller in the women’s game?

At the moment, goals in both men’s and women’s games are exactly the same – 8ft high and 24 ft wide – and specifically designed for, on average, taller and broader people. How can the average woman defend the top corners?

Looking at other sports, accommodations for difference are routinely made – hurdles in the Olympics are shorter than the men’s, basketballs are smaller and a shorter net is used in women’s volleyball.

If logic alone were to the criterion, then it would make sense to adjust goalpost sizes and, perhaps, at the same time slow the rate of goal-per-game inflation in women’s football that is currently outstripping the men’s game.

However, many feel it is simply sexist to suggest that adjustments need to be made and that the suggestion ignores the continual improvement in standards which have been so obviously on display in recent years.

This is a thorny question, with valid arguments on both sides, but perhaps the answer lies in continuing to create the conditions that improve the standard of the women’s game and invest in our undoubtedly talented female players.

And for women’s football to be appreciated for the way it is in its own right.

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