Lionesses go roaring into the history books: what future awaits?
The lionesses have won the Euros, now they shadow themselves into a politically fraught sporting future
Mead, Toone, Kelly, Earps these will be names engraved on the hearts of the England faithful forever more. Along with so many other England players who were on the pitch last night for the historic 2–1 win against Germany.
I could wax lyrical about the courage, flair and persistence of these women in the sporting arena, but I feel other more sporting orientated writers would do this subject greater justice.
What I will turn to is legacy and the politics of women and minorities in sport. I never thought I would see an England win in my life time, much less a win spearheaded by the England women’s team.
So even my (at times) rather sport averse brain is conscious that I was watching more than just a football match last night, I was watching English sporting history.
Yet it comes in the context of the men’s game next to be played in Qatar and the Daley/Tatchell protest at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The greater fight for equality is far from won and the part sportspeople will play remains uncertain.
Tom Daley has said: “Thirty-five out of the 56 Commonwealth member states criminalise same-sex relations.
That’s half the countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality.
Seven Commonwealth nations have a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under laws imposed by Britain in the 19th century when it was the colonial power.
He believes: “Every single person should be free to live their true authentic self, no matter where they are born or who they are. We must all keep working until everyone is free and equal.”
As I watched the Euros I was conscious of the wrench of deciding whether to boycott the men’s World Cup by dint of the controversy surrounding the constructions where it is next to be played. A tournament I have followed since I was young.
Tom Daley has nailed his colours to the mast, while David Beckham has been supportive of the Qatar World Cup, despite the slave labour that it transpires played a hand in its preparation.
A woman with her kit off and her top on in celebration catapult her from page three to headline news, but how far have we really come?
What future awaits a victorious women’s England team? What battles will they be fighting and what storms will they encounter in playing the beautiful game? How will they prevent it from turning ugly?
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