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It’s tough out there when fundamentals don’t work

The subject of elite women’s sport is a vexed one in which aspiration, political-correctness and straightforward business reality collide with a distinctive but compelling thud.

Here on The Rust we take no particular delight in occasionally drawing attention to, or commenting upon, some of the absurdities that result.

Differences of culture, nation-size and rate of “progress” are naturally factors that come into it.

Take the United States of America, where it so happens that women’s soccer – via community growth, the “soccer mums” phenomenon and (to be fair, at the end of the day) the enduring success on the world stage of the national women’s team has produced a situation in which there is a logical argument for gender pay parity, partly because the US men’s team – in a male US sporting set up in which soccer has so far failed  to (and may never) match, let alone emulate, the national ‘staples’ of American football, basketball, baseball – is relatively feeble.

And yet, despite the (more recently stalled) progress of the England women’s football squad towards greater prominence in terms of the broadcasting airwaves and general national awareness, the blunt fact remains that – for the mass population – in the UK, for good or ill, women’s sport is both a novelty and a curio.

Nobody takes it particularly seriously – despite the BBC insisting that the likes of Radio Five Live gives the latest scores, injuries and transfer news in the women’s game almost as much “headlines” time as that of the men’s.

This may satisfy and impress those immediately involved in the women’s game – and indeed those of the deluded sisterhood who hold to the view that if e.g. men’s soccer can justify paying an elite centre forward £250,000 per week for his services, equivalent female centre forwards should also receive similar … as if this in any way advances the cause of ‘equality’ – except in the statistics.

Because it doesn’t. Instead it merely invites and prompts ridicule in the average man and woman on the street.

Here are links to two recent stories appearing in the sporting media that make the point, arising from the impact of the Coronavirus crisis:

Firstly, Suzanne Wrack reports upon the fall-out from the current situation in the world of women’s football – see here, as appears upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN

Secondly, Fiona Tomas reviews the perilous state of the elite women’s rugby union game in England (the Tyrrells Premier 15s) – see here, as appears upon the website today of the – DAILY TELEGRAPH

It only remains for me to highlight the damning statistic contained in the latter – viz. that the average crowd attendance at a Tyrrells Premier 15s league match last season (2018-2019) was just 345.

I repeat: just three hundred and forty five people.





About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts

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