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Dads Give Football Playing Daughters the Red Card

Dads Give Football Playing Daughters the Red Card

Date published: 23/06/2015
We Can Play

New research from The Football Association has revealed that dads are not the biggest supporters of their daughters when it comes to encouraging them to play the nations’ favourite game.

Of the sports dads would encourage a daughter aged 7-11 to play, football came seventh -  with 19%. Top of the list of sports father’s would encourage their girls to take part in were swimming (59%), athletics (44%) and gymnastics (41%).

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup gaining huge attention and likes of legendary England footballer David Beckham being a keen supporter of his daughter, Harper, playing football, it was perhaps surprising that it also ranked lower than tennis (34%), netball (25%) and, incredibly, martial arts (24%).

Unsurprisingly, however, when it comes to the sports dads would encourage their sons to play, football comes a clear top, with 69% - making them three times as likely to encourage their son to play football over their daughter. It was well ahead of any other sport, with swimming (36%) and athletics (32%) being the second and third most popular options.

The research was undertaken by The FA following the launch of its new We Can Play initiative to encourage more girls to play football. The campaign is aiming to highlight the barriers that girls face when it comes to playing football - including the lack of encouragement and support of their parents.

Rachel Yankey, England, Team GB and Arsenal Ladies footballer, said:

“For young girls, the support and encouragement of their dads - as well as mums and any other family member - can play a crucial role in them wanting to play and enjoy football.

“When I’m coaching children it’s always upsetting to hear girls saying they’ve been told by an adult that football isn’t a suitable game for them to play. The women’s game has come a long way in recent years but now is the time that we need to start to remove the barriers that girls face in wanting to enjoy a sport that brings so much joy to so many people.”

The research also highlighted a number of reasons why dads believe football to be an unsuitable sport for girls. Top of the list was a belief that other sports are better suited to their daughters (25%), dads thinking that girls would prefer to play other sports (24%) and football being a mans’ game (22%).

Worryingly, a number of negative perceptions were also apparent - 16 per cent believed football is unladylike, 14 per cent were concerned that other people would see their daughter as ‘butch’ if she played football and 13% stated a belief that women aren’t built to play football.

Dads - as well as mums and other family members - are being urged to show their support for girls playing football by registering a commitment to encourage their daughter to play at www.thefa.com/link to the petition. The FA will be providing the latest information and opportunities for girls to play football with We Can Play aiming to canvass the support of 100,000 girls and parents as part of its drive to boost participation. The campaign comes during a hugely important year for women’s football with the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada being followed by the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final, between Notts County Ladies and Chelsea Ladies on Saturday 1 August, being staged at Wembley Stadium for the first time in history.

Since The FA assumed control of the women’s game 22 years ago the popularity of the sport has grown exponentially. At the time, there were just 80 registered girls’ teams – 2.89 million women and girls now play football on a regular basis with over 5,000 girls’ teams. Already the biggest female team sport, The FA is aiming for women’s football to become the second biggest participation sport in England, behind men’s football, by 2018.

More information on We Can Play can be found by visiting www.TheFA.com/WeCanPlay

 

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

About the research:

The Football Association used the independent online market research company FlyResearch, who surveyed 1,000 dads between Friday 12 and Monday 15 June 2015. Its researchers are members of the MRS, PRCA, BPC and Esomar, and abide by their guidelines

About women’s football

Since The FA assumed control of the women’s game 22 years ago the popularity of the sport has grown exponentially. At the time, there were just 80 registered girls’ teams – 2.89 million women and girls playing football on a regular basis with over 5,000 girls’ teams.

Already the biggest female team sport, The FA is aiming for women’s football to become the second biggest participation sport in England, behind men’s football, by 2018.

About ‘We Can Play’

‘We Can Play’ forms a key part of the drive to increase participation in girl’s football from a young age. The ages of 7 to 11 have been identified as pivotal in regards to girls’ engagement in sport.

The FA hopes this not only encourages more girls to believe football is something for them to enjoy but ultimately that it will create the next generation of Lionesses to represent England at future Women’s World Cup tournaments.

More information on We Can Play can be found by visiting www.TheFA.com/WeCanPlay


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