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Women's league opens up for second season

While the Emirates women's league had a successful first year, plans to open it up - both in terms of foreign participation and in a literal sense, taking it outdoors and in front of the public (last season all games were played indoors with no spectators), support for change is not universal.

Interestingly, the arguments against opening up comes from many of the women participants themselves.

Apparently, they consider men will simply come to mock and/or leer and seem to prefer a closed league.

To me, this simply symbolises the problems inherent in such uneven social structures as exist in such cultures. Treating women differently to men in terms of general society is not in itself problematic, assuming women themselves are part of the process, but using that difference as a means of discrimination - which has clearly happened in some Islamic societies (and not just Islamic societies it must be added) - is damaging for all.

Now, women feel themselves unwilling to be "publicised" as their social boundaries have cast them as novelties and an exotic breed to be ogled or otherwise entertaining. They are not validated, nor considered equal participants in wider society.

Interesting to note the body overseeing the league is made up of men.

We can only hope that sanity here prevails and that women are able to go on playing football in the way they choose. Should the pressures of social expectation be such that women have to play indoors to feel comfortable, then so be it.

That would be a shame, but ensuring all have access to the beautiful game is more valuable than making the Abu Dhabi women's league a money-spinning and perhaps an aren't-we-liberal PR exercise. 


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