Football fever is in season, and we are once again inundated with commentaries on social media, vuvuzelas, and of course, that psychic cat making World Cup predictions.
While everyone is busy yelling at their television screens or at the mamak, we’ve compiled a list of amazing (and fun!) facts about women in football.
Women in Football #1: There’s a Women’s World Cup!
Yup, you read that right. Since 1991, the FIFA Women’s World Cup has been similarly held every 4 years. The inaugural game was held in China and was won by the United States, who is the top performing team of all time so far with a total of 3 champion titles, followed by Germany, Norway, and Japan.
The next World Cup will be held in France in 2019.
Women in Football #2: Most appearances in the World Cup
The record is held by TWO women – Brazilian midfielder Formiga and Japanese Homare Sawa, with 6 appearances each. They were both 37 at the last Women’s World Cup in 2015. Make no mistake – this feat has never been achieved by a man!
Women in Football #3: Inclusive emojis
Often thought of as a male sport, the role of women in football is often overlooked., even in texting! This month, in recognition of women on the field and women’s contribution to the sport, Twitter launched a female football emoji. You’ll totally need this now that 2018 seems to be a record-setting year for women.
Women in Football #4: Hijab on-and-off the pitch
If you were following the unfolding of the hijab vs. FIFA drama, you’ll remember that the hijab (and other headcovers including the Sikh turban) was first banned in 2007. After a series of flip-flop decisions, it was permanently banned until 2012. This was when the international governing body started a ‘trial’ of 2 years which saw success, and a subsequent lift of the ban in 2014.
Off the pitch, Iran scored a win this year when women were finally allowed to watch men’s sporting events in stadiums – a ban that was in place for 38 years.
Women in Football #5: The highs and lows
The highest attendance recorded in the Women’s World Cup is about 1.3 million in total (hosted by Canada in 2015), compared to the men’s tournament that attracted over 3.5 million in 1994 hosted by the US. But did you know that women’s matches were once able to attract bigger crowds than men’s? However, the popularity of women’s football took a major hit when it was banned in 1921 and remained so for 50 years, because it was the “most unsuitable game, too much for a woman’s physical frame”. Well, to the people who thought that, say it to Lily Parr, who had “a shot so hard she once broke the arm of a professional male goalkeeper. She also earned the distinction of being the first woman to be sent off in an official football match for fighting.”