Women’s Football And Its Double-Edged Sword

Sunderland Ladies have lost access to the first-team training facilities at Academy of Light because, well, because they’re women.

You wouldn’t be surprised if you found out that along with receiving letters regarding the removal of their access to the Academy of Light, that they also received job applications for roles within the Sunderland kitchen.

Another day, another frustratingly ignorant kick in the footballs for women’s football; it’s tiring.

This news is the latest setback for Sunderland’s Ladies team, with the recent decision to go from full-time to part-time forced upon the side.

Bearing in mind that the Black Cats have given England’s national side such stars as Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Steph Houghton, Jordan Nobbs and, recently, Beth Mead, this is bad news for the Three Lions.

We up 🙌🏼 #Euro2017 #Smile

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As much as Sunderland’s decision is ignorant, narrow-minded and unfair, the Black Cats aren’t the first club to scale back their investment and input on women’s football.

Notts County have already decided to reduce their input into the women’s side of the beautiful game, and it won’t be long before the likes of Birmingham City and Reading decide to follow suit, as a direct consequence of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City’s increased investment.

It’s a double-edged sword for the world of women’s football: praise and welcome the increased passion and investment from the big sides like the Gunners. But is peaked interests from the big sides in the women’s game worth the detriment it causes to the smaller teams?

Sunderland and Notts County’s viewpoint of the whole situation is very much one of ‘we can’t compete financially, and it’s a very small part (if any) of our business model, so why even bother?’

The new Women’s Super League 1 campaign starts this month – after it’s recent move from a summer season to a winter one – and without a ball having even been kicked, it has got off to a bad start.