I’m a big football fan and a big feminist.
(Written at length about both over the years.)
Been keeping my thoughts to myself, but for the record, I’m not particularly a fan of The Lionesses and didn’t follow their Euro campaign, though obviously I support the equality benefits their success might bring. But, already fearing all the talk of growth, financial growth of the women’s sport. If ever a sport needed levelling-down, it’s football.
It’s nothing to do with them being women. I stopped following “elite” football – premiership (clubs) and international (club & national teams) – around the time England appointed Eriksson and Chelsea were funded by Abramovic – despite our originally investing in the Sky Sports TV franchise. (We maintain a Sky subscription solely for the Golf, since elite football is over many more channels these days, though with the LIV disruption, I fear the golf will now also lapse.)
The level of hype created by the over-funded TV and press coverage means the human sporting/club/team element gets pushed out. I sincerely hope The Lionesses maintain what they obviously have in that department, but already the signs are there. They all play for the same elite clubs as the men, already talk of their legacy, sell multiple replica kits, and already display the same lack of respect for referees and the spirit of the rules as the rest of elite football. The saving grace may be that the younger and female fan-base gives them a less tribal starting point than the men’s game, but they’re already well and truly under the pressure of the elite sport hype. (Same is true for all elite sports, even the world athletics and commonwealth sports.)
I wish them well, but fear the worst.
Here we go – 2 days later and the England keeper interviewed on BBC R4 Today news: Great benefit is the level of TV production – many different cameras, multiple angles views, ultra-slo-mo, graphics – keep people talking about contentious incidents for weeks, years (!). Did I mention VAR earlier? Another disaster. Sport is in the moment – legendary “I was there” moments and talking points come from personal experience, not invented by pre-planned repeat TV scheduling. Jeez – this is not about football, women’s or otherwise, not even about sport. It’s about buying & selling media attention.
Yeah, I know. Jumpers for goal posts, not 😉