Good old FIFA are at it again - insisting that women shouldn't be allowed to play in men's football teams. Whatever next? No gay people in the straight olympics please! Seperate teams for for black people and white people? Oh please...!
Well I have written a nice email to Mr Blatter letting him know what I think of his rulings. He may remember me from the last time I wrote to tell him what I thought about his suggestion that the best way to raise the profile of women's football would be to insist on skimpier outfits for female players...
I do have some sympathy with those who fear that letting a few elite women in to the men's league would be harmful to the women's leagues. However I think the disadvantages there are more than outweighed by the thousands of women who would likely be inspired to take the sport up if they saw women competing in this way. And it would encourage girls to go down the park and join the local boy's team if that was the easiest way to learn to play.
Doing this at the highest level however sets a precedent for teams right the way through the league system to exclude women. Especially in rural areas this can mean the difference for women between having the chance to play and not having the chance to play.
Personally I used to play for a women's team until last season but there are far too few teams around central London and competition for places is desperately fought. I ended up registered with a team but very rarely getting a game. So now I play for a men's team, and its great fun. OK, so what I should have done is started my own women's team, but I don't have time anymore [I ran my own team for 3 years in Japan a few years back]. In the past I've played for a lot of different mens and womens teams and the variety of experience has unsurprisingly made me a better all-round player.
Anyway as its Christmas and since you're all so special I thought I'd risk the threat to my blogging anonymity (I've had a very different hair-do since then) and post up a picture of me lined up to play for the "Vagabonds" team. This was 2002 in a mini-world cup friendly tournament in Tokyo, despite being English I was playing for the USA (anything for a game!). Actually I was the only woman in the whole competition and ended up being interviewed on local TV.