Throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns in England, there has been noticeable “sexism”, regarding male and female football. Male football has evidently been able to train and play more frequently than female players, along with boys academy football still being able to continue.


In the first lockdown in England, men’s football made a rapid return in early June, as it was regarded as an elite sport, with the premier league being one of the first sporting events to start back. However, women’s football was not included in this return of professional sport until a later date.


During the November lockdown, men’s professional football was classed as elite and therefore able to continue. Surprisingly, under this “elite” sport banner, boy’s academy football was also able to carry on whilst their female youth counterparts were told that they were to be suspended.  “This is an obvious example of sexism in sport”, a local academy player complained to me.  “The fact that girl’s academy football is called “grassroots” whereas boys academy football is classed as elite just says it all.”   After delving into this further, it is shocking to find out that the reasoning behind this decision was actually due to the chronic underfunding of girls and women’s football, which highlights the prejudice that is still prevalent in modern day sport and demonstrates that women and girls are underfunded and treated differently.


In this latest national lockdown, women’s football has been overlooked yet again, with the vast majority of female players still not being able to participate, even though their male equals are allowed to continue.


This has also been reflected in many other sports, where female athletes have been overlooked and not supported financially. For example, women’s golf and rugby were also classed as under-elite level, in comparison to their male equivalents. This shows how discrimination is not just football specific but endemic throughout the sporting sector.


Ultimately the reality of equality in sport, has been highlighted in the lockdowns, with male sports, especially football, being prioritised over the female game. 


The question still remains, will women ever see true equality in sport?