Yesterday lunchtime I watched the Women's FA Cup Final on television, in which Arsenal beat Sunderland 2-1. This gave Arsenal a fourth successive win in the competition.. I have to say straight away that I was incredibly impressed by the standard of the football played. Naturally, the game was less physical than men's football, and none the worse for that, but the ball control, passing and general awareness on the pitch, was to say the least impressive. There is no doubt in my mind that given more publicity the women's game could have a massive impact on the sport, particularly world wide.
It all started in August 1917, during the first World War. A tournament was held between munition workers in North-East England, it was called the 'Tyne Wear & Tees Alfred Wood Munition Girls Cup', but was popularly known as 'The Munitions Cup'. When, in 1921, the Football Association banned women's teams the English Ladies Football Association was formed. A silver cup was donated by the first president of the association, Len Bridgett, and was competed for in the Spring of 1922, when Stoke beat Doncaster & Bentley 3-1.
The first formal international tournament was instigated under the jurisdiction of UEFA in 1982. The final was held in 1984 when Sweden ran out winners. Norway won in 1987, but since then Germany have dominated winning six out of seven competitions up to 2005.
The first women's World Cup was held in China in 1991 and was won by the USA. The third World Cup was held in the United States, Los Angeles, when a record crowd of over 90,000 watched the home team win 5-4 on penalties.
In September 2008 FC de Rakt women's team (pictured inset) from the Netherlands, made international headlines by swapping its old kit for short skirts and tight fitting shirts. Initially, the Dutch Football Association vetoed the idea on the grounds that the rules of the game state that all players, men and women, must wear shorts. The decision was reversed when it was revealed that the FC de Rakt team were wearing hot pants under their skirts. Who knows, the idea might catch on and spread to the men's football. I can see David Beckham maybe giving it a try, but Wayne Rooney, I don't think so!