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Home -> Blogs -> Free Kick -> The History of Women's Football - Part II

The History of Women's Football - Part II

Jan 20, 2016 18:55

Did you know that the first recorded women’s football match took place 124 years ago? Did you know that England’s FA had banned Women in football for 50 years? Ever Heard of Nettie Honeyball or Bill Julian? Do you know the history of Clubs like British Ladies Football Club or the Dick, Kerr's Ladies Football Club? Read The History of Women’s Football – Part 1 to know more about the early history of women’s football.

Post England’s success in the 1966 World Cup, Women’s football received a major boost. Women’s Football Association (WFA) was formed in 1969 and the Ban on Women’s Football was lifted in 1971. It was a significant year, one in which things turned for the good. It was the year the ban was lifted, the Women’s Football Association held the WFA CUP and UEFA declared that the each country shall take the women’s football under their respective national football associations.

Italy was one of the first countries to pave the way for a national women’s team. Although they were playing on a part time basis but, this was a huge and significant step. Multiple National teams were formed after this which led to the increase in the frequency of matches played. France, Switzerland, Norway, England, Denmark were all a part of the rise of Women’s football in Europe and across the world. Their progress was slow but steady and within a span of 25 years, Women’s football had multiple tournaments taking place at both national and international levels.

One must observe that it is due to the frequency of matches that women’s football grew and were provided access to regular football at the top most levels. Tournaments like The Olympics, The World Cup, The Euro’s, Champions League and multiple National Leagues in most of the countries formed the basic structure which is followed till date. Let us look at a few tournaments below.


Women’s Olympics Football matches first took place in the year 1996 in The United States of America. USA emerged as winners whereas China finished second and Norway finished third. This tournament has similar rules as that of men’s football, allowing 23 players with the exception of 3 players being over the age of 23.

Did you know? The USA team has won 4 of the five editions of the tournament and finished second in other one! Their name goes synonymous with the women’s football in the Olympics.

Womens Football World Cup

An invitational tournament was held in 1988 to check the feasibility of hosting a women’s world cup. The successful tournament paved the for the First World Cup which was held in China in the year 1991, 58 years after men’s first world cup. The tournament had 12 teams and the tournament had an average attendance of over 19,500 spectators. Since its inception, the tournament has been held every 4 years, just like the men’s tournament. This Tournament was a stepping stone in making Women’s football more competitive on a global scale. It was a necessary and beneficial boost for Women’s football.

Did you know? USA’s Women’s team has not finished lower than 3rd place. They have won the tournament 3 times, finished second 1 time and third 3 times.


One of the First Unofficial European Football Championship for Women was held in 1979. Denmark emerged as winners in a tournament that lasted 8 days. Not having acquired the support of UEFA, the Championship paved the way for the first Euro’s for women, which was held in 1984.

Did you know? Germany has dominated this tournament having won 8 of the 11 editions held.

(Europe) Champions League

UEFA Women’s Champions League started off as UEFA Women’s cup in the year 2001. It was another step forward in the overall development of women’s football. This provided them access to regular exposure to the top teams all across Europe.

Did you know? Germany dominated this tournament as well! German teams have won the tournament 9 times finished second 4 times and have entered the semi’s 6 times! Total Domination!

It is safe to say women’s football has grown over the last two decades. Did you know that Indian women national team’s ranked 57th and their male counterparts are ranked 163rd? It’s common to see national women’s football teams are placed higher than their male counter-parts in FIFA Rankings. The success that USA has achieved in Men’s Football is nowhere close to that of Women’s football. We have seen an exponential rise in number of female footballers.

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