Skip to main content

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. 


Popular posts from this blog

Post-UNOSDP - Is the IOC fool's gold?

This is a longer version of an article published on
With the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace closed down by the global body, there is undoubtedly a void in this space in which many of us here work.
But, for all the high profile oomph the UNOSDP added to the world of sport for good, it’s passing need not be seen as devastating.
For one, the work the UNOSDP has already done in its 16 years of life has laid a platform for the development of sport for social justice. While many of us knew for years that sport had a wider purpose beyond mere business or entertainment, the UNOSDP has provided a base of credibility that may have otherwise taken much longer to establish.
While much of the work is, in many ways, still to be done, the UNOSDP has left a positive legacy on which we can all build.
More problematic is the shifting of the UNOSDP’s brief to the IOC.
Obliging the IOC to administer to the peace and development facets of modern sport raises three qu…

Statement on Funding for the Rohingya Football Club

We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur. The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching. Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative. The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance. "The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world. They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result." As r…

Playing for Positives: How Pro Sport and Good Causes Can Work Together

Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.

The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.

It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.

But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?

The Kick P…