Italian Serie A side Perugia are on the hunt for a female footballer to play in
Italian Serie A side Perugia are on the hunt for a female footballer to play in their squad. Their President Luciano Gaucci has declared that 'women have the same rights as men' and he's hunting across Europe for a suitable female player to sign on...
Gaucci said: "Within six months we'll have a woman playing in Perugia's red strip."
"I'm convinced that Perugia can become the first club on the planet to play a woman with men in the first division.
"It's not forbidden in the rules, which only mention men playing in women's teams."
However, a female footballer could not currently compete in the Premiership or Football League here. In England, The Football Association rules state that mixed gender football teams are not allowed from the age of 12. This rule is in place both to protect players because of the difference in physiological make-up between men and women, and to help develop the women's game in England in its own right.
If you've tuned in to watch the England women's team or FA Women's Cup Finals on TV, it's easy to see that women can be as skilful and as technically adept as male players. But from the age of 12 medical advice has shown that women do not compete on a level playing field as men in sport. This is because men have the capacity to be much stronger physically in terms of muscle mass and have a bigger aerobic capacity.
This means that no matter how skilful or fit a female player is, she will come up against a stronger male player - who may win a tackle because of his strength rather than ability and this would be unfair.
"Women's football is growing at an incredible rate in England and there are more opportunities than ever for girls to take up the game," says FA spokeswoman Bev Ward. "The mixed football rule acts as a safeguard to players because of the difference in strength, which is a particular feature of the men's game.
"The women's game is attracting more players and also growing as a spectator sport in its own right. While a female player in the men's game would certainly attract a lot of publicity, we firmly believe that women will continue to gain credibility and respect for their achievements in their own discipline."
Research released last week by The FA has shown that 1.5 million girls aged between 7-15 have played football in the last year in England, while in the past ten years since The FA has run the women's game the number of affiliated girls teams has leaped from 80 to over 4,800!
The FA re-launched its Get Involved campaign in May 2003, which aims to let girls know about their playing opportunities. Girls can ring the local-rate hotline number - 0845 310 8555 - and they will be sent a pack, which includes details of their local clubs, a magazine/poster and temporary tattoos.