Where and when was women’s football born?

The origins of women’s football are linked to the homeland of football, Great Britain. In Italy, the fascist regime banned it: women had to be mothers, not footballers.

The origins of women’s football are linked to the homeland of football, Great Britain. But the Second Industrial Revolution also has something to do with it: the English soccer teams were born as after-work for the workers. The oldest is Dick, Kerr’s Ladies Football Club, founded in 1894 by workers from the wagon and locomotive (and later ammunition) factory Dick, Kerr & Co. in Preston, Lancashire. The first meeting of which we know is the following year.

THE FIRST TRANSFER MARKET. The First World War, with the mobilization of many women in factories converted to war production, multiplied the teams and after the conflict the activity continued: on 26 December 1920 the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies faced St Helen’s Ladies FC in Liverpool, in front of over 50 thousand spectators.

The British footballers played in shorts like their male colleagues and also inaugurated the “transfer market”: Dick, Kerr’s Ladies managed to snatch champion Lili Parr from St Helen’s by offering her a job, a secure salary and various benefits.


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Women’s teams were born in Scotland and France, where the Kerr’s Ladies played four games (the first international). But as early as 1921 the British Football Association banned women from playing on federal courts: a boycott that lasted until the 1970s, but which did not prevent Kerr’s Ladies from continuing to play – since 1926 under the name Preston Ladies FC – until to 1965. Winning 758 games out of 828.

ITALY: THE WOMEN’S FOOTBALL TEAM. In our country, a group of girls from Milan founded the first football team in 1933: the women’s soccer group. They obtained permission from the FIGC to play only behind closed doors. And when in October of the same year they organized the first away match, against a newly born women’s team in Alessandria, they were stopped: the fascist regime diverted the players to athletics or basketball (which was played without contact).

In short, fascism forbade women – who must have been prolific wives and mothers – to practice a male sport par excellence: women’s football began to talk again in Italy in 1946, in Trieste, where two teams (Triestina and San Giusto) were formed. and in Naples, then followed by other cities. The first national championship was played in 1968 (Genoa won it), but only in 1986 did the Italian players enter (under the heading “amateur tournaments”) in the FIGC. The World Championship debuted in 1991, in China, with the US victory over Norway.

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