Poll result: Majority against mixed football in over 12s

Girls over the age of 12 should not be allowed to play football with the boys, according to the majority of Club Website readers.

In England and Wales, boys and girls at under 12 level and below are currently allowed to play football in the same matches, whilst in Scotland mixed football is allowed up to under 15 level.

60% of Club Website readers believe that the system in England and Wales should not follow the Scottish lead and allow girls and boys over 12 to play together, while 40% believe that mixed football should be allowed at this age group.

Those opposed to mixed football often cite differences in the growth of adolescent boys and girls as a reason why mixed football should not be allowed, arguing that boys develop faster than girls and therefore the risk of injury increases.

Some opponents of mixed football argue that it leads to mismatches and lower the quality of the boys’ game, thereby holding back the development of the better male players.

On the other side of the coin is the argument that, if a child is good enough, gender should not be a factor. Supporters of mixed football argue that, due to the nature of growth spurts at that age, physical differences within a gender group can be just as great as the difference between girls and boys.

Therefore, if a tiny 13 year old boy is allowed to play against a lad who’s had a serious growth spurt and towers above him, why should girls not be allowed to play with boys who are supposedly stronger?

Regarding the development issue, it is commonly argued that playing girls-only football from such an early age is seriously holding back the best female talent in this country and, until this is changed, the women’s game will still struggle to fulfil the potential that the talent out there should be allowing.

No doubt the debate will rage on but, for now at least, once girls in England and Wales hit under 13s level they will not be allowed, in an organised game at least, to play football with the boys.

Poll result: In England and Wales, boys and girls aged 12 and over are (generally) not allowed to play in the same football match. Should this rule be amended to allow mixed football over the age of 12?

59.6% – No
40.4% – Yes

Poll size: 4,376

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. ken scotford on November 17, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    we have had a girl playing for us for the past three years, she is an exceptional player and equally as physical as any of my boys,she reads the game really well and as she is a defender and has saved us from many a goal as we as a team have scored 54 goals and only conceeded 8 . I feel that this is discrimination if she is forced to leave at the end of this year due to the fact she is a girl it should be her choice as i know for a fact that her footballing days will come to an end should she be forced to leave as she doesnt want to play for a girls team

  2. Michael Stevenson on November 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I have coached at both Junior & Senior Level for both the male & Female sides of the game and I agree with the comments by Ken Scotford that it is a shame that girls are being forced away from the mixed game based on their genetic make up. This is seriously damaging the Womens Football in this country and the FA needs to review its policies urgently. Regards on comments playing with girls will hold up the progress of the better more skillful male players is nonscence as player development is partially if not 80% down to the coaching they receive. Surely if Girls & Boys cannot mix then surely based on that logic Girls football should be only coached by Females as they have knowledge on the supposedly physical restraints some of these girls have.
    Having coached at Senior Womens level, I would challenge anyone who is of the veiw they are not either skillful or physical enough compared to Mens football, spend a Saturday or Sunday and go and watch the football and I promise you will see the game played the way its meant to be played and was played by so called men 20 years ago…..

  3. Rainer Ludwig on January 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Being German and a close observer and supporter of women’s and girls’ football in both England and Germany, I am convinced that it is for the benefit of women’s and girl’s football in general if talented girls could play in boys teams for as long as possible.

    Actually in Germany girls are permitted in boys teams up to under-17 level, which is the highest junior level. There are also under-17 girls teams playing in regional under-15 boys leagues.

    Success of German women’s football indicates that this strategy is quite reasonable. England should think about applying foreign “best practice” in this respect.

  4. Jan Hagen on February 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    The same applies to Dutch football where girls and boys can play mixed much longer than here in England. The argument against mixed football above u12s is flawed, short sighted and rooted in the normal reluctance to change that exists here.

  5. emily on January 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I think it is disgraceful girls should be anle to play there just as good as the boys !!!

  6. Bill on August 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    PC gone mad, physical differences at/ post puberty alone make this decision the wrong one, not prejudice common sense sadly lacking in the FA

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