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Female MP barred from playing for parliamentary football team

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Summary of story from Daily Telegraph, May 31, 2011

Tory MP Tracey Crouch has been barred from playing for the UK’s parliamentary football team because she is a woman.

The MP for Chatham and Aylesford in Kent has criticised the “ridiculous rules”.

Crouch, 35, is a right winger or centre forward who has played for both the 11-a-side and five-a-side teams alongside her male colleagues.

However, the Football Association recently took over the running of the 11-a-side team and under its rules only girls aged 13 or under can play in mixed teams.

Crouch, a keen Tottenham Hotspur fan, said: “I don’t want there to be an exemption for me but it seems ridiculous that adult women can’t decide if they want to play alongside men if they’re good enough.

“It’s right that girls can’t play alongside boys over 13 – the physical factors are too obvious – but it’s ridiculous to apply those rules to something like the Parliamentary football team.”

She insisted that she could hold her own against her male counterparts, who include Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary, Andy Burnham, the shadow education secretary, and Karl McCartney, the Tory MP for Lincoln.

Asked to give an example of how her skills compared, she said: “Well, I once nutmegged [put the ball through the legs of] Jim Murphy, which might give you a hint. Besides, the Parliamentary team is hardly the Premier League.

“The men’s game is fast, more pacey, but women can be more technically adept. If you put a member of Arsenal Ladies team into a men’s Sunday League team, I think the men would be surprised.”

Crouch is also a qualified football coach and FA referee and has managed Meridian Girls U13s in Kent for three years.

  1. Megan Radclyffe says:

    Quote: “…the Football Association recently took over the running of the 11-a-side team and under its rules only girls aged 13 or under can play in mixed teams.”

    But it *is* a mixed team! 10 men and 1 women! Mixed!

    Government never seems to have such problems with mixing when it comes to hospital wards – can’t they explain that policy to the FA, get them to see sense?

  2. vicki wharton says:

    How can parliament uphold the country’s laws on discrimination and then allow it in sport. If a girl is good enough to play alongside boys or men – why can’t she? I worked in a stables and could outwork and outride any of the male grooms – from the age of 13 upwards. Sometimes skill can win out over physical strength but how can girls show this when they are not allowed to play?

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