by Roger Le Grove Rogers
June 17, 2005
the English disease
After watching Italy play in the
UEFA Championship it seemed it was a sad reflection on a country that has fewer
women playing soccer than the more sparsely populated State of Alabama in the
In the last twenty years the Italian
women’s game has been struggling for proper support from its Federation
. There is no strong youth program in Italy, unlike the United States where
the women who ran the Youth programs were the driving force that forced the
U.S. Soccer Federation into reluctant action during those early years.
Unfortunately the Italian soccer
communities attitude to female players can be summed up by FIFA President Blatter’s
remarks last year when he suggested that abbreviated uniforms would b e more
feminine and attractive.
For the first time in the USA, thanks
to the Fox Soccer Channel ,we were able to watch the European television coverage
of the women's game and specifically the 2005 UEFA Championships. To those of
us who have spent the last twenty years covering games live from the media or
team section at stadiums around the world this was not only a different experience,
but an eye opener as to the difference in the quality of the television commentators
compared with those professionals who cover the European mens' games.
The television commentary covering the England v Sweden for example was perhaps the most amateurish that we have seen. Replete with personal banter between the two of them that contrasted sharply with the high level of skill and attitude of the teams on the field.
After listening to the English male commentators at this tournament it was a surprise and disappointment to Arealize that in spite of the big advances in the girls and women’s programs in the England FA the male soccer community was no different from the Italians in their sexist attitudes to women playin g sports.
We had written about this in Women's
Soccer World January/February 1997, Volume 1 Number1 Commentary The "English
Disease" The English disease and
had hoped that the situation had changed, but apparently not much.
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