Overall it’s thought that the women’s game has seen a 53% increase in participation over the last three years. Kelly Simmons ‘Head of Football Development’ says “Girls and women’s football is growing significantly year after year, averaging about 1,000 new affiliated girls and women’s teams every year. It is now easily the number one female participation sport.” The portrayal of football as a male game has been ditched. There hasn’t been a huge amount of media attention.
But it is increasing all the time; major championships are covered with reports in the news on sports channels, and important match like the women’s FA cup final are televised live. In the surrounding area there are several leagues; fixtures and results are reported in the local newspapers. There are plans to bring the women’s Euro 2005 to the UK, this will mean more exposure for the game, participation levels should be driven by this and are expected to continue rising.It’s not just women’s football that is on the increase; even though the men’s game is already so well established participation levels are still increasing (fig 1.1 and 7.1).
Some of the interest in grassroots football maybe driven by aspirations to become professional players. This is appealing with the prospect of fame and riches, over the last decade or so the sport has been transformed in the fashionable global phenomenon it is now. But before this the game was not particularly well paid even not so long ago when people like Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hanson were players, they had to get another job after their playing careers were over both opting to become TV pundits. These days the superstars like Beckham are earning in excess of ï¿½50k a week, plus millions of pounds in sponsorship deals, there’s definitely no need for them to look for work after the retire from playing.The large sums of money that change hand in the world of football can give spectators the reason to sometimes expect more than is humanly possible.
The media has played a part in this they hype up players so much they become, in our minds something more than just human they become detached. This then justifies ripping them down when they slip up. But in some case some fans think it also justifies violence, the expectation on the players to perform means if they fall short fans get frustrated, this is not helped by the amount they are paid as it gives rise to the argument “they’re getting paid a lot of money to perform they should perform every match”.The frustration amongst the fans can slip over into violence in the stands. The game has made huge efforts to rid the game of hooliganism, and to extend these efforts have been rewarded; matches are much more family friendly. Deterrents such as CCTV cameras have been fitted all round the stadiums with operation centres where the footage is constantly monitored; this centre is in direct contact with the emergency services and stewards in the ground. It’s also been made so that offenders can be banned from all matches including foreign games. England had made a name for itself in the football fraternity for hooliganism, so catching offenders and confiscating their passports has helped greatly in irradiating this reputation in international competitions.
Other recent campaigns have focused on other problem areas of the game. Like ‘Kick it out’ has help massively in getting rid of racism in football. The trend is a decreasing one, the English game used to be dominated by white players and the first black players were badly abused by the fans, but this is no longer such an issue, thanks to schemes and role models; there are now lots of black football stars. Some people say there’s still an element of racism, for example we still don’t see black or asian managers.
But in the recent international friendly when England played Spain in Madrid there was some racist abuse directed at the black members of the English side from the Spanish Supporters, this showed how far the game has progress in England.One trend seen in places like Britain, is that people are living longer this is creating an aging population. Thanks to advances in medicine and technology there are a lot more old people in Britain and a lot more active old people. So this has given rise to another group that sport must cater for. I’ve talked about how advances in technology have created an aging population but some of the developments have had a direct influence sport and how it’s played. In football it’s not had a huge impact on the game, but there have been a few alterations.The ball that professionals use nowadays is lighter than ever before, after detailed research into the flight of a football, and evidence that the older, heavier balls were actually causing damage to the players’ heads. Technology has also help to improve football boots; boots now have two types of studs for different weather and are made from lighter materials, to improve performance.
The spectators experience is much improved, with slow motion replays and numerous camera angles, but this has also given rise to the debate: should technology be used to aid the referee to reach decisions? Some people think that decisions should be right if there is so much riding on them, others believe it would take away from the spirit of football.Technology has helped to progress the game of hockey greatly. The majority of players now play with a composite stick, which incorporates different materials to reach a desire product with the prefect properties. The main substance used id carbon fibre; it’s strong but much lighter than wood. These new sticks provide more power from the same amount of energy, this has upped the speed of the game and the also made it easier for certain groups like children to play a better standard of hockey (see next page for some examples). The game is now played almost exclusively on Astroturf, an artificial surface either sand based of water based.The surface is flat and has much less resistance than grass so has helped to make play faster and more accurate.
But there is a down side, it’s already evident that the impact running on astrotruf puts a crippling amount of pressure on the knee joint, so sadly it’s anticipated that there won’t be many older people continuing to play the game into their 40’s in years to come, because a lot of them will have knee problems.The global success of football and the media portrayal has meant the public are constantly subjected to it. It now has a role in everyday life, affecting lots of things including the way we dress. Clothing that was originally designed for sports men and women. For example like trainers and tracksuits bottoms are now worn regularly as casual wear. This has created a multi billion pound industry, one source estimating spending on sports clothing at ï¿½2750million a year. It is a healthy industry because the sector of the market that buy for participation will look for quality rather than bargains. Although “spending grew by only 2%, with sports clothing and footwear taking slightly lower shares of the overall clothing and footwear markets in 2001 than in 1997” (http://www.
researchandmarkets.com/reportinfo.asp?report_id=3896;cat_id=136) this can be put down to the increasing popularity of demin and the non-sports wear look.Bibliographywww.thefa.