With the Women’s World Cup currently underway, the challenges that women in sports face have again come to light.
In an article in the Times, columnist Emma Hayes has come under fire for comments she made regarding the sport. She pointed out that unlike in football, sports such as basketball and hurdles in the Olympics have been adjusted to make it easier for women who generally have a smaller stature than their male counterparts.
She explained that in basketball, the ball used by female basketballers was made smaller, while the hurdles in the Olympics are shorter for the women than they are for the men.
Bearing this in mind, Hayes argued that due to women’s smaller size, the size of the football field and goalposts should also be reconsidered to make it less taxing for the players.
“There is one obvious reason why women play on the size of pitches and goals that we see now. That is what we were given. And maybe no one ever thought to question whether it makes sense,” she wrote.
Hayes’s comments came as a surprise considering that she is a career football coach. She is currently the manager of Chelsea Women having served as coach for various football teams in the US and UK.
“Those are obviously her opinions. I personally don’t agree with it,” said Crystal Dunn, who is playing for the US women’s football team at the ongoing World Cup. Dunn, who has played under Hayes, said the size of the pitches and goals is fine and any readjusting would make it harder on the players’.
“I think women do some incredible things in this game and I’m always pushing for us to be at our best,” Dunn added.
“I absolutely think that they should be the way that they are,” commented Abby Dahlkemper, Dunn’s teammate. “Personally, I agree with everything Crystal [Dunn] said,” she added. “You see these breakout players like the Chilean goalkeeper, and that’s just the quality of level that women’s soccer has [reached].”
The Chilean goalkeeper being referred to is Christiane Endler. She is six-feet tall and the pairing of her skill, height and regular-sized goal post, proved favourable when she successfully blocked goal attempts in the Chile versus US game this past Sunday. Though the US won 3-0, her prowess was celebrated by her fellow players, Chilean or not.