LAURA CARTLEDGE: Better late than never for FIFA’s makeover

Girl power is not a new concept.

It’s name and image might have changed - from the suffragette pioneers to the spice girls - but the force, the drive, remains the same.

Recently it seems to have grown up a bit. The attire is now more trouser suit at the UN than union jack minidress.

Which is about time.

The word ‘feminist’ was used as an insult, coupled with comments about burning bras, and now it is up in lights with Beyonce standing proudly infront.

I believe the ongoing drive is a result of a feeling that there is still a lot to do.

Especially as some still refuse to believe there is a problem - it’s roots of it are just buried so deep they think it is the norm.

It’s not a ‘women on top’ anti-man ideal either, the aim is not to usurp but to be able to stand alongside.

With this in mind the FIFA news of the last couple of weeks has caught my attention.

No, not that FiFA news - the arrests and the ‘resignation’ - but the announcement that FIFA 2016, the video game, will include women for the first time in its 22 year history.


That was my first reaction.

My second was, geniuinly, that I would love to play rather than just be stuck on the sidelines.

Only, when I looked closer it turns out my partner and I won’t be able to see who is victourious out of Notts Forest women vs Pompey men. Ladies can play ladies, men play men.

Then that little niggle of ‘why has it taken so long?’

The answer it seems, if the comments on stories about the announcement is anything to go by, is that an awful lot of people think video games, like football, should be a male-only pursuit.

They find it weird, or perhaps even wrong, that women would play either.

But they do and certainly in the real-life football arena they are, arguably, better.

For example England’s women get more people watching their friendlies.

When they played Montenegro last year, they racked up double figures scoring ten goals.

As for Montenegro’s men, the England lads most memorbably drew 2-2 and Rooney got sent off.

Our women also put 13 away, unlucky for Hungary, in an 2005 away World Cup qualifier.

Our men haven’t scored ten goals or more since they beat USA 10-0, in 1964.

And it goes on, the women’s FIFA ranking is sixth, the men, 14th.

Their trophy cupboard is even better stocked with two Cyprus Cups, 2009 and 2013, and two Mundialitos (Spanish for “little World Cup”) in the 80s.

Meanwhile England’s men’s ‘Tournament of France’ silverware from 1997 is a little lonely.

But, to be fair, the men have lifted the biggy, the world cup, and the women are yet to.

But it feels like it is just a matter of time.

I might work on a rewrite of Mr James Brown lyrics just to be ready, ‘it is a man’s world (cup).’