How the FA banned women’s football in 1921 and tried to justify it
A year after more than 50,000 turned up to watch Dick, Kerr Ladies play St Helens, a ban was introduced that was to last half a centuryDespite women having been turfed out of the workplaces in large numbers and the return of men’s football after its suspension between 1915 and 1919, the women’s game was thriving at the turn of the 1920s, with the Dick, Kerr Ladies – a famous factory team from Preston – at the forefront.In 1920, the team would play four international home fixtures against a French team led by the women’s sport advocate Alice Milliat at Deepdale, Stockport, in Manchester and then Stamford Bridge. The team then headed to France and played in Paris, Roubaix, Le Havre and Rouen. It would prove to be a hugely popular tour and on the team’s return to England, the hype for a scheduled Boxing Day match against rivals St Helens at Goodison Park was building. Few, though, could have predicted the seismic impact the fixture would have on the future of women’s football.