FIFA’s Gendered Laws of the Game

From the opening page of FIFA’s Laws of the Game (2014-2015): Women appear on the list of categories of disabled players for whom one can modify the size of the pitch, the ball and the goal. And: FIFA’s use of the male gender in all documents really means both men and women. This gets really confusing when considering a 2004 FIFA Executive Committee decision asserting that “the difference between men’s and women’s football must be absolute.” Women, who should not be expected to play by the same rules as men, are not men. Except when we say men and we mean women. That difference is absolute!

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  1. This is not a problem unique to football. As Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano point out in their book “Playing With The Boys” most sports hsve gendered rules. That does not make FIFA right. Of course the rules should be the same for men and women. And to be fair at the elite level they are. At the 2012 Olympics the only differences were they were 12 teams in the women’s event compared to 16 in the men’s (why?) and the men had an age limit that the women did not(but that is more to do with FIFA not wanting the men’s event to be a second WC).
    One thing puzzles me. Why do some women support different rules for women? Last year on the BBC’s “Women’s Football Show” a female player (don’t recall who) sugested smaller goals for women’s matches. Why? Doesn’t she realise that plays into the hands of people who think women’s football is rubbish? As a mere male I can’t understand wonen like that.

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