LFL Europa – A Pathway for Women in Sport, LFL360.com, Thomas Piachard

LFL360.com, Thomas Piachard

With the bright lights (and at times not so bright lights) of the Super Bowl officially over, football fans can now look towards the other goings on in a slightly different part of the world. On a cold Sunday in February, Manchester, England saw the first phase of a new franchise being born for the planned 2015 launch of the Legends Football League Europa. The event saw many young hopefuls try out to be selected as part of the team.

The news of an emerging franchise in the UK received somewhat of a mixed reaction from the public. Many people cited the sport as ‘derogatory’ and ‘objectifying’, no doubt referring to the uniform worn by the participants. Others stated that we should be ashamed of ourselves. However, not all of the reaction was negative. Many young women commented that this would give them a chance to “kick ass, and look good doing it.” They also cited the Manchester LFL team as an opportunity to “showcase their talent, and play the sport they love.”

In an effort to really delve into the depths of just how “objectified” those wanting to be involved with the LFL felt, I thought it an interesting idea to speak to two individuals who might end up making the team:

Lauren Hill, who currently plays for the Southampton Stags women’s 5v5 kitted team, had this to say…

“Personally, I am excited for the introduction of LFL Europe because the Manchester team will draw on a much wider pool of women than current university or GB teams. (Alternate organizations) There is no bar on international participants for LFL Europa, so the women who currently represent a university or club and who are ineligible to play for the forthcoming GB team are welcome to try out for the LFL. [A team even] travelled all the way from Italy to take part in the LFL trials. It also makes the sport available to those who have no local women’s team they can play for and are either unable or unwilling to play for an all-male team. Therefore, by purely being open to anyone, the standard of play and competition in the LFL could far exceed anything [currently] available to women in this country. This is why, in my opinion, as long as the women involved can prove that they should be taken seriously as sportswomen in their own right, I am hopeful about LFL Europe.”

We also spoke with Claudia Allan who plays for the Hull Sharks in the British Universities American Football League. She plays on the mixed team…

“Personally, I don’t have a problem with the LFL. From a purely womanly perspective, it essentially gives us the ability to flaunt what we’ve got, but still be powerful and sporty. All too often women in sport are represented as manly, butch, and unattractive, but with the LFL, these women are very much showing what they have, and showing that they are indeed women.”

Allan went on, “I have frequently heard about women complaining that there is no full contact provision for women in the UK, and flag football is all they have access to here. Football is a contact sport, and I don’t understand flag myself. As a woman who plays for an otherwise all male team, I can safely say that if you want fully-clothed, full-contact, [you must] play with the men. There isn’t anything stopping a woman playing on a men’s team other than her ability, and if I can do it, anyone can do it.

I don’t think I’m wrong to assume there are some women who enjoy the way a man looks in base layer and tight game pants. Women do not look good in tight game pants. Trust me, I know. I don those shiny, polyester trousers three times a week. It’s just not a good look. Now, I am well aware that people don’t play sports to look good, but people do like to look good, even when playing sports. There are a lot of women who look a whole lot better in the LFL uniforms than they would in those terrible knee length trousers.

I think that bringing the LFL to England can only be a good thing. It makes women realize that they can play contact sports without looking butch. To me, as a lady, the LFL gives women the opportunity to play a sport that they are passionate about and do so whilst looking good. Women make the choice themselves. If a woman doesn’t want to play football in her knickers, she doesn’t have to.”

As you can see from these impassioned responses, there are women out there ready to don the pads, and take up the call of the Legends Football League in Europe!