Girls over the age of 12 should not be allowed to play football with the boys, according to the majority of Club Website readers.
In England and Wales, boys and girls at under 12 level and below are currently allowed to play football in the same matches, whilst in Scotland mixed football is allowed up to under 15 level.
60% of Club Website readers believe that the system in England and Wales should not follow the Scottish lead and allow girls and boys over 12 to play together, while 40% believe that mixed football should be allowed at this age group.
Those opposed to mixed football often cite differences in the growth of adolescent boys and girls as a reason why mixed football should not be allowed, arguing that boys develop faster than girls and therefore the risk of injury increases.
Some opponents of mixed football argue that it leads to mismatches and lower the quality of the boys’ game, thereby holding back the development of the better male players.
On the other side of the coin is the argument that, if a child is good enough, gender should not be a factor. Supporters of mixed football argue that, due to the nature of growth spurts at that age, physical differences within a gender group can be just as great as the difference between girls and boys.
Therefore, if a tiny 13 year old boy is allowed to play against a lad who’s had a serious growth spurt and towers above him, why should girls not be allowed to play with boys who are supposedly stronger?
Regarding the development issue, it is commonly argued that playing girls-only football from such an early age is seriously holding back the best female talent in this country and, until this is changed, the women’s game will still struggle to fulfil the potential that the talent out there should be allowing.
No doubt the debate will rage on but, for now at least, once girls in England and Wales hit under 13s level they will not be allowed, in an organised game at least, to play football with the boys.
Poll result: In England and Wales, boys and girls aged 12 and over are (generally) not allowed to play in the same football match. Should this rule be amended to allow mixed football over the age of 12?
59.6% – No
40.4% – Yes
Poll size: 4,376
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