Scottish football goes back to the 1970s. It won’t work.

Imagine a parallel universe where England won their Euro 2016 group and Germany did not without the results of any games in their groups being different from what they actually were. Seems ridiculous – but the ridiculous rules of Scotland’s BetFred (League) Cup, had they applied to the tournament in France last month would have the above scenarios entirely possible.

The BetFred Cup has started with a group stage format. It has eight groups of five teams who play each other once. The group winners plus the best four runners up go through to the last sixteen where they will be joined by Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts and Hibs the country’s four European representatives.

So far so logical. But for reasons best known to themselves the authorities have come up with a ridiculous points system. There are three points for a win and one for a draw just like there usually is. The difference is that if a game is a draw both teams get one point but there is a penalty shootout after 90 minutes and the winner of the shootout get an extra point. And if you’re wondering why this system has been adopted join the club.

Had this format been used in the recent Euro 2016 tournament it could have changed the whole story of the event. For example Wales won Group B with a record of two wins and one defeat while England were second with a record of a win and two draws. Now imagine that drawn games ended in a penalty shootout with an extra point. Had England won only one of their shootouts after their draws with Russia and Slovakia – hard though it is to imagine England winning any penalty shootout – they would have finished on six points and topped the group ahead of Wales on the head to head rule despite an inferior record and an inferior goal difference. Hardly fair. While in Group C Germany and Poland both won their games against Ukraine and Northern Ireland and drew with each other Germany having the better goal difference. Had the BetFred Cup rules applied Poland could have (though it would have been unlikely) won the penalty shootout and topped the group with the same record and an inferior goal difference!

There is no justification for having a penalty shootout after a draw in a group game. It’s just an experiment for an experiment’s sake a swerve for the sake of a swerve it’s as if Vince Russo was booking the BetFred Cup. A totally unnecessary change that no one was clamering for.

In fact it’s worse than that. It is a massive step backwards. For the League Cup in Scotland had this format from when the competition started in 1946-47 until 1977-78 when they finally realised that the format was not working. It dragged on far too long and produced far too many games. In 1983-84 the authorities made the League Cup a straight knockout with one off games that had to produce a winner on the night. A far more sensible logical format. Why they have reintroduced this format I don’t know. There was no demand for the fans for it and attendances have been terrible. Yesterday the highest crowd in the fifteen games was a pathetic 3020. The League Cup should either be scrapped or go back to a knockout format.

But it is not the only example of Scottish football wanting to go back to the 1970s. A lot of people for some reason want to go back to an 18 team top division even though it was cut down in 1975 because it was rubbish. The German Bundesliga’s top division has eighteen. Does anyone think a country with a population of five million can have the same number of teams in its top division as a country of over 80 million? Another example is Celtic bringing back “safe standing” which in my opinion is an oxymoron. Terraces were banned after Hillsborough and should remain so. If the Scottish Government won’t ban then the UK Government should. Unbelievably some people want alcohol to be sold at Scottish football grounds but surely the appalling behaviour of Hibs fans at this year’s Cup Final would convince even useless ex Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy that football fans cannot be trusted to behave themselves after a drink in the ground when they can’t behave themselves when alcohol is at grounds.

The new format of the League Cup, the return of terracing, the proposed 16 team top division and the proposed return of alcohol at grounds all have something in common. Between 1975 and 1989 they were all got rid of because they were unsuccessful or caused crowd trouble. So what sane person thinks that bringing back things that failed in the 1970s will work now? Yes Scottish football is a basket case. Scotland were the only British Isles country not to qualify for Euro 2016. This season has barely started and Scottish clubs have already lost to opposition from Luxembourg, Malta and even Gibraltar. So Scottish football needs to change. But the changes must not bring us back to the 1970s. Instead we must look to  countries like Norway, Sweden and especially Euro 2016 quarter finalists Iceland for lessons. One thing is sure. Going back to the 1970s will not work.

Advertisements

Talking about a revolution

It was one year ago – July 13th 2015 – that Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks made their debuts on RAW and – since they were women who could actually wrestle – unlike the useless models that WWE usually hire – fans and the company – called it a revolution*. One year on how has the revolution got on? The answer is mixed to put it mildly.

The revolution started going wrong on its very first night. Let’s look at the definition of the word “revolution”  :

“Revolution (noun) : The forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favour of a new system”.

So who announced the revolution on RAW last year? Stephanie McMahon the daughter of the owner of the company! In effect the establishment of the WWE announced the revolution which is plainly nonsense as revolutions are the overthrow of the establishment! What should have happened was an ex wrestler like Lita should have announced it or just let the three women debut without a ballyhoo. That was the first mistake.

Their next mistake was to merge the three debutants with six of the existing women on the roster and split them into three teams of three. This led to weeks of mind numbingly dull tag matches between various combinations of the teams. Anybody with a knowledge of history would have known that this would be a disaster as it was merely a female version of Vince Russo’s disastrous  “Gang Wars” of 1997 when the Nation of Domination, Disciples of Apocalypse and Los Boriculas fought in meaningless tag matches. If it didn’t work for the men why on earth did WWE think it would work for the women 18 years on? What they should have done is either have Banks, Charlotte and Lynch as “invaders” – a female version of invading forces like the NWO, the Nexus or the Shield – but the problem with that idea was they for obvious reasons can only attack other women which lessens the element of surprise after their debut – or do what I would have done. Say that the women’s division is a shambles and needs a reboot strip the then champion Nikki Bella of her title get rid of the title belt and launch a new title** and have a tournament to crown a new champion. Just like WCW did with all their titles in April 2000 when that company was a mess and needed a reboot.

But it didn’t happen. And the reason it didn’t happen was because of a male ego. Nikki Bella is the girlfriend of John Cena the biggest star in the WWE. But unfortunately as an ex model she is a relic of the WWE’s toxic, sexist hiring policy and should have dropped the title. Indeed that was the plan. But unfortunately Cena allegedly lobbied the WWE to let Bella break AJ Lee’s record title reign and they accepted. Cena’s ego and the WWE’s determination to stick it to Lee’s ex husband CM Punk meant that Bella kept the title until October’s Night of Champions Pay per view – a dreadful mistake.

Even when Bella dropped the title to Charlotte the company still kept messing the women’s division up. For some reason best known to themselves the company had Paige mention the death of Charlotte’s brother Reid saying “Your brother didn’t show much fight did he?” which was crass and offensive to put it mildly. Then at the Royal Rumble in January this year they had Charlotte’s legendary father Ric Flair force a kiss on Becky Lynch. Yes they showed sexual assault on TV. Quite how showing an old man forcing a kiss on a young woman ties in with the WWE’s family friendly PG rating is a total mystery (they edited the incident out of repeats of the Rumble which tells you all you need to know).

To be fair, at Wrestlemania they almost got it right. They finally produced the new women’s belt they should have had back in July and the three women that had made their debuts back in July – Lynch, Banks and Charlotte – had one of the best matches of the night. Pity they had to have Ric Flair interfere to help his daughter gain victory but the match was a credit to women’s wrestling and it looked like the WWE were finally getting the women’s division right.

Er…they haven’t. Since Wrestlemania it has been going backwards again. Women’s matches are still far too short and the WWE still have a chronic inability to produce more than one female feud at the same time. For example after losing at Wrestlemania the popular Banks virtually disappeared from TV until the end of last month. This is partly because she suffered a concussion but mainly because WWE wanted to hold back her title bid – presumably to August’s SummerSlam – they had nothing for her to do. Imagine John Cena not being on TV because WWE wanted to keep him out of the title scene until August? You can’t. Because they wouldn’t do that that’s why….

It shows how pathetic the WWE is that the fact there are two women’s matches on the next WWE pay-per-view Battleground- Becky Lynch v Natalya and Charlotte/Dana Brooke v Banks and a partner of her choice – is eye catching and a sign of progress when it really shouldn’t be. The fact is while the WWE women’s division has improved since last year it can be said it is only taking the division back to the 2002-4 era where there was Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Jazz, Gail Kim…the women’s division should have improved since 2004 but until last year it had actually gone backwards.

Women’s wrestling should by all logic be as successful as women’s tennis. After all the women wrestle at the same venues as the men – just like women play tennis on the same Grand Slam stage as the men. But thanks to WWE sexism it is more like women’s football, rugby , cricket and basketball – regarded by fans as inferior to the real male athletes. A few things I would do are :

Sack the models. The likes of Nikki Bella, Eva Marie, Lana and Maryse must be swept away. Women must be wrestlers – not eye candy or pretty valets for their husbands and boyfriends. Those kind of women should be swept into oblivion.

Scrap Total Divas. Total Divas is a crap reality show on the E channel – think “Keeping up with the Kardashians” only worse. Since the women aren’t known as Divas anymore this show must go. If WWE are contractually obliged to produce this garbage pay the E network whatever they want to get this rubbish off our TV. If they want $10 million give them $10 million. You can’t put a price on gender equality….

Sign more women. There are plenty of good women wrestlers WWE could sign. Kharma, Candice LeRae, Sexy Star, Ivelise, Cheerleader Melissa, Jessica Havok to name but six. If you want to improve the women’s division sign good wrestlers. Its not rocket science!

Treat women the same as men. I don’t mean intergender wrestling I mean what Adam Blampied of What Culture said “Book the angle as if it is starring two men. Change their names to Bayley and Sasha Banks***. And you’re done”! Simple! So why can’t WWE do this? Also have the women in the same stipulation matches as men – a Money in the Bank ladder match, a Last Man Standing Match, a TLC match, even a Hell in the Cell match between two women. Why not?

Oh…and sign Ronda Rousey. You know it makes sense.

There are no excuses. So far it has been more a case of “evolution” rather than “revolution”. In fact the so called ” revolution” has had all the revolutionary impact of a used teabag. What the WWE should be aiming for if not women main eventing pay-per-views – which has never happened -is for women to co main event pay-per-views. It happens at Wimbledon at the Olympics and at UFC 200 last Sunday. There is no reason why it should not be possible in the WWE. And if it happens then we will be truly able to talk about a revolution.

*WWE called it a “Diva’s revolution” but I refuse to use the word “Diva”.

**The WWE did introduce a new belt but at Wrestlamania not in July last year. It is a big improvement on that awful pink butterfly belt.

***Or any other women.

 

Theresa May (or may not) win the next election

Tomorrow the UK will have a new Prime Minister. Theresa May will be the country’s second female Prime Minister and the thirteenth Prime Minister of the reign of current Queen Elizabeth (hope she is not superstitious). May of course has become Prime Minister without winning a General Election. Surprisingly May is the seventh post war Prime Minister to gain power without winning a General Election. Labour and the Lib Dems predictably have called for a General Election but there is no obligation for a Prime Minister appointed in the circumstances that May has been appointed to call a General Election and in any case the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – which the Lib Dems supported!- means there cannot be an election unless two thirds of MPs vote in favour of it which means both Labour and Conservative MPs would have to back an election which is highly unlikely.

So it looks like the next UK General Election will be held as planned on May 7th 2020. But will Theresa May get her own mandate then? UK politics is totally unpredictable at the moment so it is impossible to say. So I thought I would look at the other six people who became Prime Minister without winning a General Election. Did they go on to win their own mandate at the next election? Let’s just say the omens for Theresa May are very mixed.

The first man to become Prime Minister without winning a General Election was Sir Anthony Eden who succeeded Sir Winston Churchill in 1955. He is the only Prime Minister of the six who called a “snap” General Election after becoming Prime Minister*. He became Prime Minister in April 1955 and the election was on May 26th. The Conservative majority increased from 17 to 60. Eden’s honeymoon did not last long however and the ill fated Anglo-French invasion of Suez in 1956 led to his resignation on 10th January 1957.

He was succeeded by Harold Macmillan who unlike Eden did not go to the country immediately. Instead he waited until October 1959 when on the slogan “You’ve never had it so good” the Conservatives further increased their majority to 100. But Macmillan like Churchill and Eden did not complete his term. The infamous Profuno affair when the Secretary of State for War** John Profuno admitted lying to Parliament when he said he had not had an affair with a prostitute when in fact he had. The scandal nearly brought down the government and Macmillan resigned due to ill health.

He was succeeded by Sir Alec Douglas-Home. Now this was weird. First of all he was elected by nobody as in those days the Conservative leader “emerged” rather than being elected. Secondly Home was not even an MP at the time. He was a hereditary peer a member of the House of Lords with the title of the 14th Earl of Home. He had to win a by election in the safe Conservative seat of Kinross and West Perthshire to get into the House of Commons since the Prime Minister has to be an MP. In an era dominated by young pop groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones having an Earl as Prime Minister was seen as an “elegant anachronism”.  Labour won the 1964 General Election but only by a majority of four seats. The Nuffield study of the election (page 146) said “When all was over, some Conservatives were willing to say privately that Sir Alec Douglas-Home cost them the election”. Since the Conservatives still nearly won the election it is quite possible that a leader more in touch with sixties Britain might have won. But they still lost and Home is the shortest serving UK Prime Minister since the war at just less than a year.

The next man to become Prime Minister without winning a General Election was James Callaghan in 1976. He inherited a government with no majority and an economic mess but had he gone to the country in October 1978 he might have won. But he delayed the decision and the infamous winter of discontent in 1978-79 when the dead went unburied and the rubbish went uncollected turned the country against Labour and although Callaghan was more popular than Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives won a majority of 43. His decision not to call an election in 1978 was a dreadful mistake. Had he done so Margaret Thatcher could have been a footnote in history instead of a three time election winner.

Thatcher stayed Prime Minister until 1990 when Michael Heseltine challenged her for the Conservative leadership. Although Thatcher got more votes than Heseltine she did not get the number of votes she needed and resigned. She was not succeed by Heseltine but by John Major. Major was behind in the polls for most of the time before the 1992 General Election but fear of change brought Major a shock victory with a 21 seat majority. He might have wished he hadn’t bothered as his 1992-97 government was a total shambles the party was split in two and eventually crashed to a landslide defeat by Tony  Blair ‘s Labour Party in the 1997 General Election.

The last person before Theresa May to become Prime Minister without winning a General Election was Gordon Brown in 2007. In fact Brown like Douglas-Home did not even win a leadership election as he was elected by the Labour Party unopposed. Brown was immediately faced with a dilemma. During his honeymoon period Labour soared in the polls and a lot of Labour MPs wanted him to call a “snap” General Election. After weeks of umming and aahing he decided not to call an election. He must have wished he had as in 2008 the economic crash occurred and the next year the MPs expenses scandal added to Brown’s unpopularity. In the end he actually did well to deny the Conservatives an overall majority but like Callaghan in 1978 had he called an election in 2007 the political history of the UK might have changed forever.

So judging by history Theresa May has a 50-50 chance of winning her own mandate in 2020. How she delivers Brexit and how she can keep her party united will probably be a key factor but with the current unpredictable state of British politics who would dare bet on the 2020 result?

*Prior to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act the only rule was that a Parliament could not last more than five years. But a Prime Minister could call an election at any time he/she wanted to. As an example there were two General Elections in 1974.

**Sums up the mentality of the UK at the time that the position of Secretary of State for War existed. It did not last much longer. On April 1st 1964 the post – along with those of First Lord of the Admiralty and Secretary of State for Air – was abolished.

 

 

England face a true Test

In a summer dominated by Euro 2016, Wimbledon and Brexit it is fair to say cricket has struggled to make much of an impression on the nation’s conciousness. It has not been helped by the fact that although England’s victories over Sri Lanka in Test, one day and 20 20 cricket were impressive, the visitors were too poor and the series were too one sided to make much of an impression on the public. Add to that a yawn of a T20 Blast group stage that started back on May 20th and won’t end until July 29th and it is no wonder cricket is struggling for publicity.

However with a window in the UK sporting calendar until the Olympics and the Premier League start in August cricket has a chance to regain its place in the sporting spotlight. And the start of England’s four Test series against Pakistan should allow cricket to take this opportunity. For one thing usually guaranteed in England v Pakistan series is drama. Not all of it is good to put it mildly. In past Pakistan tours of England there has been cricketers found guilty of spot fixing and sent to prison (2010), a team refusing to play a Test match because they were penalised for ball tampering (2006), pitch invasions  (2001), ball tampering allegations (1992), controversy about umpiring (1987 and 1982), controversy about intimidatary bowling (1978), and even a row about rain getting on the covers at Lords (1974). Only in 1996 did a Pakistan tour pass off without controversy in the last 42 years.

The main tour controversy this time is a relic of the spot fixing controversy of 2010. Three Pakistani players Mohammad Said, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir were banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for five years. The bans expired last year but only Amir (who was 18 when he was banned) has been picked for this tour. Now I mentioned Amir in an earlier post (“On the hypocrisy of sport”) but let’s just say I reckon if he was guilty of rape or domestic abuse and white he would have got a far friendlier reception than the one he is likely to get on Thursday.

But fortunately series between England and Pakistan are not just famous for controversy but also exciting cricket. For some reason the combination of England and Pakistan in english conditions rarely  produces dull cricket and it won’t this time either. Pakistan are a cricketing miracle. Unable to play at home since the Sri Lankan team’s coach was bombed in 2009 Pakistan have none the less risen to number three in the Test rankings above England. This is mainly due to the remarkable captaincy and batting of the 42 year old Misbah-ul-Haq who took over a team on its knees after the 2010 turmoil and turned them into a team that punches above its weight especially in Test cricket. Pakistan have a proud tradition of producing world class bowlers and this team continues the tradition with Amir, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah who is probably the first world class leg spinner to visit this country since Shane Warne’s last tour in 2005.

This bowling attack will provide a severe examination for what is still the weakest part of the England team the batting. Even against an outclassed Sri Lanka England’s batting was still unreliable. In only one of the five innings where England scored over 100 did the team reach 100 with fewer than three wickets down. The selectors have taken action again. Nick Compton withdrew from first class cricket citing exhaustion but his form was so poor he would certainly have been dropped anyway. Gary Ballance has been recalled and most interestingly Joe Root  indisputably the team’s best player will bat number three. Root at number three and Ballance at his county position of number five gives England at least the appearance of solidity although James Vince who failed to get runs against Sri Lanka and Alex Hales who did have still got to prove themselves against Test quality bowling.

England also have problems in the bowling department. Their leading wicket taker of all time James Anderson is out of at least the first Test with injury while all rounder Ben Stokes can only play as a batsman and thus has not been picked. This means that either Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball or Middlesex’s Toby Roland-Jones will make his Test debut. Ball really should have been given his debut in the dead third Test against Sri Lanka to give him experience but instead he will be thrown in at the deep end.

England’s bowling is a key in this series as Pakistan’s batting especially in English conditions could be seriously vulnerable. In 2010 Pakistan were bowled out for scores of 80, 72 and 74. It goes without saying that Pakistan must bat better this year but most of their batting is unproven in England. Even Misbah has never toured England before. The experienced Younis Khan who has been a success in England before has a key role both with the runs he can score and also he needs to mentor the other batsmen.

Because of this batting vulnerability England must start the series as favourites but Pakistan are capable of putting England’s batting under pressure. One hopes this series will produce excellent cricket and more importantly will be the first England v Pakistan series in twenty years – and only the second in 45 years – not to be marred by controversy over match fixing, ball tampering or umpiring decisions. But judging by the history of England-Pakistan cricket on the last forty years that could be wishful thinking….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write it Right: Things I Wanted to Say About Wimbledon

The Tennis Island

Over the last two weeks…

I wanted to write about the dreary commentary by Doug Adler — who saw it fit to point out everything that he perceived as negative during a match and ruined the thrilling first round encounter between Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova by virtue of his mere presence in the booth.

I wanted to write about how one-dimensional and short-sighted it was that the majority of Dominika Cibulkova‘s discussions in the second week were about her marriage rather than her tremendous run from Eastbourne to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon — including the match of the year against Agnieszka Radwanska.

I wanted to write about how the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club organizers kept walking a tightrope between ignorance and sexism with the way they scheduled a five-time singles champion in Venus Williams to play on Court 18 — something that would never happen to a male athlete.

I…

View original post 787 more words

Time to end the tennis fashion show

To say that the last fortnight has been unpredictable is an understatement. The UK voted for Brexit and Prime Minister David Cameron subsequently resigned. He will be succeeded by either Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom meaning that the UK will have its second woman Prime Minister. While at Euro 2016 England were humiliated by Iceland causing manager Roy Hodgson to resign while in contrast Wales had an amazing run to the Semi Finals and it took the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo to end their dream.

But it is nice to know that even in this crazy fortnight some things never change. Serena Williams reached yet another Wimbledon Final crushing her Russian opponent Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-0 in 48 minutes the shortest Grand Slam semi final this century. Predictably this mismatch caused the UK press to criticise the fact that women players get equal pay to men players at Wimbledon. Even BBC Sport’s Twitter account got in on the act tweeting “Her match lasted just 48 minutes…but Serena Williams says female players deserve equal pay”.Twitter user Nikita (@kyrptobanana) pointed out that when Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic won matches easily the BBC just mentioned that the players had won easily they did not imply that the male players did not deserve their prize money. BBC sport subsequently deleted the tweet but the damage had been done. And the BBC are meant to be progressive at least by UK media standards…

Now I’ve mentioned the equal pay issue before (in posts “The lesson from history that proves sexist Moore wrong” and “How to end tennis equal pay arguments”) but there are a couple of issues about this year’s Wimbledon besides the equal pay debate that shows that although tennis is more gender equal than other sports it is still a long way from true gender equality.

One example is ticket prices for the men’s final and the women’s final. If you want to buy a ticket for this year’s men’s singles final it will set you back £175. If you want a ticket for the women’s singles final you will only need to pay £145. Now as Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano point out (in “Playing with the boys, pages 239-240) tennis is by no means unique in charging more to watch men play than women play. But in the case of football, cricket, rugby and basketball the higher charges can be justified by the fact that demand for tickets to see men play is higher than to see women play so the price is set accordingly. But at Wimbledon both men’s and women’s finals could fill Centre Court several times over so there is no market logic for the price difference. Nor does the fact that the men play best of five sets and the women play the best of three justify the difference. Just because the men play best of five does not mean their match will necessarily last longer. The men’s final could end say 6-3 6-2 6-4 and the women’s could end say 7-5 6-7 8-6. In that hypothetical scenario the women’s final could last longer but no one would say the women should get paid more. The length of a match is a red herring.

Another example of sexism in tennis is so taken for granted that no one notices it. The men wear shorts while the women wear dresses or short skirts that shows off the women players underwear allows men to ogle them and hinders their athletic performance. For example at this year’s Wimbledon the clothing company Nike showed off what the Daily Telegraph called “super short baby-doll dresses”. Swedish player Rebecca Peterson said the dress would distract her by flying up when she was serving. Ridiculous – and the men don’t wear outfits like this! Peterson raises a serious point about how these outfits can hinder a player’s performance. When players are serving they like to carry a spare ball with them in case they need one for a second serve. No problem for the male players who just put the spare ball in the pocket of their shorts. Women can’t do this as dresses and skirts don’t have pockets. They have to put them up their underwear giving men another excuse to stare at them. Tennis is one of the few sports where the male and female outfits are different from each other. In football, cricket, rugby and basketball the male and female uniforms are the same. Both male baseball and female softball players wear the same uniforms. Field hockey is the only other sport where the men wear shorts and the women wear skirts but at least the skirts in field hockey are not as short as they are in tennis.

There is no reason – apart from sexism and tradition – why women tennis players cannot wear shorts. Women often practice in shorts and some women – most notably Victoria Azarenka – have worn shorts in matches. If women tennis players played matches in shorts they would be making a statement that they are equal to men and that they are elite athletes not sex objects there to be gawped at by leering men.

Unfortunately the women are not being helped by their own governing body. You would think that the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) would be keen to promote their players as elite athletes not sex symbols. And you would be wrong. The WTA are actually running a best dressed player award at this year’s Wimbledon. Needless to say there is not a best dressed man award. Wimbledon is a tennis tournament not a catwalk. The women are not there to look good and be gawped at by men they are there to win tennis matches. It is time for unisex tennis outfits. It is time for grender equality. It is time to end the tennis fashion show. In fact it should have ended long before now.

Manchester United’s “huge contribution” to women’s football

Every Team Needs A Ron

“The decision was taken some years ago to concentrate on girls’ football as a community activity.  We have since developed that to include elite girls’ development through our Centre of Excellence.  The Club has made a huge contribution to the game through its top level coaching of girls.  At the moment, the Club has no plans to extend that activity to a senior women’s team but the situation is under review.”

– Response at recent Manchester United Fan Forum

“At Manchester United we provide opportunities for girls to play football at the highest level, with the aim of developing international players.”

– Club website, Manchester United Foundation

Manchester United generally respond to questions about why they don’t have a team for women with the line that they have a girl’s centre of excellence. They, I quote, have made a “huge contribution to the game” and aim “of developing international players”.

View original post 105 more words