• Bob posted an update 4 months ago

    OK, troll hat half on, but what is it that makes women’s football, even at the elite level of the current WC, so bloody unwatchable?

    When I am zapping through my TV I usually stick with any sport, but women’s football, like youth football, makes me reach for the remote immediately.

    In contrast, I find women’s athletics, gymnastics, tennis, judo, weightlifting, wrestling, volleyball, skiing, bobsleigh, swimming, you name it, all great to watch.

    Anybody else feel the same? I struggle to see a pattern in my preferences.

    • eee replied 4 months ago

      Personally, I hate watching football…love playing it though.

      However Women’s Football will grow and grow in popularity. As the sport grow’s, the advertising money will materialise and,at that point the game will expand exponentially.

      Give it a couple of generations to allow role-models to inspire young talent. Throw in a few trophies and the rose-tinted glasses of 1966 will fall away.

      • Bob replied 4 months ago

        I have no problem at all with women playing football. I just struggle to understand why I subjectively find men’s football so much more attractive as a spectator, while in athletics or judo it makes no difference to me, and in gymnastics I even find the women’s version more attractive than the men’s event.

        • In the kindest words: Maybe you feel that football is “(one of) the last bastions of men’s sporting prowess?” I am just guessing….There is no reason to like women’s judo /athletics/ etc and and at the same time not to like women’s football IMHO (you did ask…)

          I am not interested in any of the sports above btw, but I do understand what it is like to be a woman in sports and up against it.

          No criticism, but you did ask for comment x

          • Bob replied 4 months ago

            @bosworth Not really, I am no great fan of men’s football fan either, I just follow my shit hometown club (Nuremberg) out of nostalgia and masochism and I am only half serious anyway.

            The reason I posted was that last weekend I was trying to relax a bit by watching some sports coming home from a full day’s work and a five hour drive, but all that was on was women’s football. The only thing that would have been worse for me would have been horse dancing or golf….

            As I said, I don’t know what it is about women’s football in particular that makes me switch channels.

            My own sports are judo and climbing, and in both I like watching women’s comps as much as men’s events. The only other sport where I also strongly prefer watching the male version is handball (the Euro team game, not…[Read more]

          • What kind of gobbledygook is that? What is it like to be a woman in sports and be up against what? This isn’t prejudice, it’s a simple fact, there is no team sport I can think of where women are equal to men in terms of entertainment or skill or strength.

      • Yet it hasn’t.. it has struggled for a few decades. Even in the US the professional game has struggled and they’ve had the trophies.

        Women’s sport struggle, women leave sport as teenagers. It’s a massive issue for all sports to combat and so for limited success.

        The popularity of male football has nothing to do with 1966.

    • How do feel watching international women’s football compared to say Div 1 Men’s football?

      I don’t like football full stop, but personally the odd bit of the womens game I’ve seen I’ve preferred due to the lower incidents of shouting at refs, general falling about cheating etc,

      However a sport I do watch a lot is Rugby, and I have the same issue as you watching the womens’ game – it is just not as compelling, but I think this is a factor of participation and the number of players and skill levels available… For me the Womens internationals are around the standard of the lower end of Championship Rugby. I’m sure in time with more participation this will even out. I still watch it though, and the contest in the game is just as good… it’s just missing those bits of magic.

    • Jack replied 4 months ago

      The two reasons I can think of;

      1) a lack of ownership. In men’s football you have your teams, club and country, which have been yours since childhood, you have no similar relationship to women’s football

      2) it’s not as good. You understand more so you can see the gap in quality. In athletics or swimming, the race is just 10% slower, but it’s essentially the same. Gymnastics and, to a lesser extent, tennis are different sports but women’s football is just a poorer copy. Even so, every now and then it can raise a smile https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/videos/817654/amazing-goal-from-barbara-latorre Not everything is worse.

    • I’m not a fan, the skill level and pace is far below the male game. I’ll try to watch bits but it’s just not a great standard. It’ll grow slowly but I’m not sure it will ever rival the male game, it will always be slower.

      I like the pace of the male game, and I like the drama. Others don’t like the diving, arguing, I do. Each to their own. I love a good derby with all the incidents and passion of the men’s game. So far very few are as invested in their clubs. We see fans running on punching Grealhish, who gets up and scores the winner later on. I don’t know any club fans who also follow the women’s team of that club with any real passion. Maybe it will change but we’ve had a lot of variations with limited success.

      I’ve seen decent female football games but I don’t think I’ve…[Read more]

    • There’s nothing subjective about it. Men’s football is faster, more skillful, more exciting, more aggressive and more competitive. Same as Rugby, Tennis, Golf and pretty much any sport going. Women’s sport is being falsely marketed as being comparable to mens sport but the reality is if they were to be played against each other there’s only going to be one winner and it won’t ever be the women.

      Whilst I’m on the subject, when women want the same prize money as the men’s events then let them compete against the men and play under the same conditions. 5 sets of champion’ship tennis, not 3, men’s tees on the golf course, not ladies tees. Anything less is unequal and the prize money should reflect that.

      • Yes but sports on TV etc aren’t really about who is best. They are entertainment. If women’s sport is as entertaining as men’s, it will have the same viewers and the same advertising. Tennis pretty much manages this. It sounds like for the OP (at least) women’s football doesn’t.

        I do watch squash because I understand the game and prefer the women’s game for this because it is possible to see what is going on. The men’s game is *so* fast that it is difficult to follow the tactics etc.

    • I would suggest that a big part of the lack of interest is the lack of history and therefore drama. Professional sports is more entertainment industry than anything. The men’s game has been around for decades and with that comes a huge history of previous encounters and events that all add to the intrigue. Think England vs Argentina for example and the infamous hand of god and Beckham’s sending off. Apart from geographical derbies the woman’s game hasn’t been main stream long enough for this kind of drama to have built up yet.

    • I remember being encouraged to watch the Women’s World Cup at the start of the decade and being appalled at the lack of quality in the play, like hungover Saturday morning football. Since then I’ll be the first to admit that the level has greatly improved. It really has. However, the standard of goalkeeping is lamentable such that it devalues any goal, not helped by the diminutive stature of many of the keepers.

    • I can appreciate it, but for me it lacks the drama but the history will maybe come.

      I was disappointed Man United took so long to develop a women’s team.

      It is good its on TV, but I saw an article by Piers Morgan (trying to be contentious as always), saying the US women should be paid as much or more than the men because they are more successful. A silly argument, plenty of male sports stars get paid for less than less successful stars in other sports. It’s about profile, players like Pogba get massive wages because they generate that income, even when they aren’t being successful.

      Unless the money is generated by the sport it seems a fast track to failed professional leagues. As has happened repeatedly in male and female soccer.

      • They had a team between 2001-05, having previously been an unofficial ‘supporters club’ (since the 70s!). It was disbanded by the new owners at the time as it was deemed to be away for the core business and was unprofitable. Ironically, these new owners were (and still are) American.. which seems strange given the strength of the women’s game in the states.

  • Bob changed their profile picture 4 months ago

  • I read an interesting article in the Guardian where the journalist said that there is no “easy” solution to this case, because someone loses out whichever way the judgement goes. Caster Semenya’s journey has been inspirational for a lot of people and for them, banning her from competing in women’s categories seems like it is removing a fundamental human right, given that she was raised as a woman. But at present, this is the best and fairest way we have of protecting women’s competition – we do have to draw the line somewhere, or we might as well just have everyone compete together (which I strongly disagree with).

    Regarding other genetic abnormalities and whether or not they confer an unfair advantage – the problem is, according to the way we separate male and female…[Read more]

  • Of course she is an XY intersex. There are many reasons and many degrees to which the developmental trajectory can be shifted from the normal (for XY) male mode to female, including SRY deletion (which would lead to full female development including the primary sexual organs), or defective androgen production, defective androgen sensing, or defective androgen responses (which tends to lead to various intersex phenotypes). Not all tissues need respond in the same way, either.

    My point is that in the case of CS the musculature still responded, at least in part, to the elevated testosterone levels that are associated with her primary male genetic makeup, especially during and since puberty.

    This is the main thing that distinguishes physical development in young men from young…[Read more]

  • I think it’s wrong to state that she is genetically AND physiologically male. Genetically, if XY, she’s male. Physiologically she’s not.

  • A leaked report stated that she was indeed Intersex and had internal testes which is what gives her the elevated testosterone.
    This was never officially confirmed because of Human Rights issues, etc. and quite correctly that information should never be released without the individuals consent.
    The only feasible way that the IAAF can control this issue is by introducing a testosterone cut off level that is physically unobtainable by female athletes and banning athletes that exceed that level from taking part in female only events.
    If Semenya is adamant that she is XX, then she could easily release the test results and stop all this confusion. The fact that she doesn’t, indicates to many, that she is perhaps Intersex and doesn’t therefore want to make that public knowledge for the…[Read more]

  • CS clearly considers herself female, but she just as clearly is not. Instead, she is a human who is genetically male but with a fetal developmental defect leading to female secondary sexual development (which also includes mental aspects and thus female sexual self identification as a consequence of this female mode development).

    In contrast, the development of her musculature especially during since puberty did not follow this female mode. Instead, her muscle cells are apparently sensitive to the testosterone produced by her testes. To note, she improved from an 800m time of 2.04 to 1.55 within nine months around age 17, which in fact triggered the initial sex test of 2009 (such a change is either a sign of massive doping, or the puberty related changes typical for male…[Read more]

  • Are you sure about this? I have no particular knowledge of the topic but my understanding was that there are tests to distinguish between naturally-produced and artificially injected testosterone.

    If it was simply a matter of accepting any value below a certain level as fine then by your own logic many athletes would already have been doping up to just below that level, which I haven’t seen any suggestion of. If they were, that would surely have been part of this Caster Semenya conversation.

  • The big problem I have is with the future female athletes – in all sports.

    There has always been acknowledgement that Testosterone is a drug that aids performance. Males produce a lot of it naturally, females less. Hence there has always been a limit (set a degree or two above natural production) above which drug taking has been taken as fact.

    If we are to allow those taking part in female sport (of any and all types) to be allowed an almost limitless amount of Testosterone in their system, and this for years, how long before unscrupulous coaches, parents, national sports associations and even governments start injecting young girls to produce the gold medal winners of tomorrow.

    This is not scaremongering, it has been done before. The entire Soviet Bloc was at it before the…[Read more]

  • bosworth posted an update 5 months, 1 week ago

    Caster Semenya. Just wondering what people’s views are on this?

    My initial view is that it is (rightly) widely accepted that there should be certain categorisations in organised sport – male / female; age; physical disability. That being the case, there does need to be some method of policing this. There are no eyebrows raised when arguments over categorisation of a particular disability arises in the Paralympics – we expect that to be carefully scrutinised. we would not object to someone wanting to compete e.g as a U20, to prove their age. So why would we object to someone wanting to compete as a female to demonstrably fit into that category?

    the difficulty for me is that, having listened on R4 to an expert (albeit one who had been hired by Semenya), testosterone levels are a…[Read more]

    • South African athlete Caster Semenya, who has been accused of being ‘too male’ to compete in women’s events, has lost her appeal to the IAA. Her mother said in an interview that ‘my daughter has worked really hard for her success. This decision is a real kick in the bollocks for her’

    • Was that ‘expert’ Ross Tucker!? He loves sticking his oar in, and as a frustrated wannabe pro sportsman his favourite hobby is trying to prove that anyone with any success in endurance sport is doping. I’m not a fan.

      Regarding Semenya I take the same position as you – sport is a ‘fictional framework’ in which people compete and that framework has rules into which you must fit etc. Removing the emotive impact of the terminology; if you have a ‘restricted’ category – ‘female’ – there needs to be rules as to who can enter the restricted category. Self identification is not satisfactory due to the possibility of gaming the system. Semenya doesn’t fit the rules for the restricted category of ‘female’.

      • I didn’t catch his name – he sounded south African. Given that he was “defending” Caster I doubt he was Ross Tucker from your description of his bugbear.

        what he was saying (if I understood it right) is that testosterone in your body does not have the same effect in all individuals.

        So in person X, 20 nanomoles (or whatever it was) of testosterone may equate to superior muscle mass building ability, and / or aerobic endurance

        In person Y however, exactly the same amount may have no such positive effect on athletic ability

        not entirely sure how that helps his argument to be honest, or where to go from there, but there does need to be some way of defining what are the relevant defining features of either sex.

    • it all seems a bit to perfectionist to me and the real danger is that individuals are being segregated and labelled (by them and the authorities) as freaks in all but name for the benefit of pressure groups when all these people want tis to be themselves and compete in sport as themselves.

      I may be old fashioned but I thought the Idea of sport was to bring people together, not put them in ghettos to suit the loud.

    • I think Caster Semenya is a really difficult case because she’s naturally got really high levels of testosterone for a woman but still much lower than a man. It would be different if she was getting the testosterone from medication. We don’t ban basketball players for being way out at the edge of the population distribution in terms of height even though that gives an advantage. So why ban someone who is naturally way out on the edge in terms of testosterone levels.

      The actual problem is that two categories male and female are not enough to deal with intersex athletes. Its analogous to a sport with weight categories and having somebody much heavier/larger than everyone else in the heavyweight category. Making a new category for one person isn’t sensible and she’s…[Read more]

      • the difficulty is that you are not comparing like with like. we do not have different basketball leagues for small; medium and tall people. so height is not a factor which determines categorisation

        equally, with the weight categories, they would be free to other, heavier weight categories ad inifintum if they so wished – it would still be fair for all competing

        the difficulty with Caster is that they cannot / have not added an extra category to lump all the “super-heavyweights” together

    • One thing that is quite irritating about this ruling is that there is a general consensus that athletes should not be medicating specifically for competition, and yet Semenya is explicitly being told to medicate in order to compete (or retire).

      It does seem (to me) to be unfair to exclude some women from competing in international sport just because they have a natural advantage due to some developmental characteristic. To take that argument to an extreme we could say that women are typically shorter than men, and so any women above 6′ should also be excluded.

    • There have always been people with XXY Chromosomes, both a vagina and penis, gender dysmorphia etc… It’s just that they were hushed up, hidden away and made to feel like they mustn’t talk about how they were different.

      Now we are allowed to open about how we’re made. Some people don’t like it as it confuses them, and they aren’t able to put people in the only pigeonholes that thought existed, but the fact is it’s our understanding of people that have changed, not people themselves.

      • well the Victorians probably put them in freak show travelling circuses and gave them snazzy names…

        I am not entirely convinced the general population views these things a whole lot differently.

        by the way, I am not suggesting there is anything “wrong” with Caster, simply that in the highly competitive and regulated world of elite sport, issues such as categorisation of sexes needs to be considered if the sport is to be fair and a level playing field.

        • Sport isn’t and never will be a level playing field. At the top level in athletics, all of the competitors have some physical traits that allow them to be faster/stronger/fitter etc than other competitors. The majority of the population could never reach their levels even with a lifetime of equally hard work as the top athletes have put in.

          It seems the elevated testosterone gives Semenya an advantage over other athletes. What I struggle with is drawing a line where some traits that provide an advantage are deemed OK while others require athletes to undergo treatment to reduce/remove the advantage.

          I’m not sure what the right answer is but I can’t see a solution that is fair to women like Semenya and also to other women with much lower testosterone levels.

    • she is obviously not female in a way that mist people understand what being female is, just look at her biceps for example.

      We then run into the question of how one defines male and female and the issue is that it’s difficult to come up with an objective measure. Those who think intersex people should be allowed to self identify use this difficulty in objective definition to their advantage by sowing doubt when in fact, we all know deep down that people like Caster are physically different.

      It doesn’t make her any less of a person, just different.

      • I didn’t think that the ruling had questioned whether she is female at all; basically, that isn’t up for debate here. There is a discussion to be had about categorisation of sex/gender and how that is used within sport, but this ruling was made under the current framework and the ruling has therefore said that she is not allowed to have the natural advantage that she does.

        They didn’t ban Miguel Indurain for having abnormally large lungs, or Michael Phelps for having a body that could have been designed for swimming, or any number of other gifted sportspeople for whatever it is that naturally made them so good. Under the way athletics is currently set up, I can’t see any difference which would mean the ruling against Semenya should go the way it has. Tough luck for her…[Read more]

    • If female “women’s” sport is for individuals assigned female at birth and who identify as female then caster should be allowed to compete.

      If however female sport is for people with testosterone at a certain level then caster shouldn’t be able to compete, and not would potentially many other females depending on where the limit is set…..

      ….But those testosterone rules open the door for male-female trans runners and weightlifters who have the full benefit of male puberty and sometimes years training as an adult male etc. Were it not for a horrific injury last year’s commonwealth gold in the 90+kg women’s category would have gone to a 40 year old male who, I think, only transitioned in her late 30s.

      Sharron Davies has stepped in on both of these recent stories (caster and…[Read more]

      • The danger for athletics is that it goes the same way as cycling, with PEDs being condoned up to a certain level. Caster now has to reduce her testosterone to a certain level; does that mean that other female athletes will be allowed to increase their testosterone to that level, in order to ensure they are on the playing field as defined by the IAAF? dont forget most of the peloton in the tdf are supposedly asthmatic, as the only test is that levels of the asthma drugs they take must be below a certain level, and non asthmatics also benefit from the effects of the drug.

        As others hsve said, this is elite world level sport, and anyone in the olympic final of an athletic event is a performance outlier. They are the best 8 in the world in Semanya’s event. Yes, she’s a genetic…[Read more]

    • The issue boils down to what it means to be a female, which unfortunately has a different answer depending on the context in question.

      In many situations there’s a lot to be said for self-identification, as it clearly offers major psychological advantages to those whose sex assignment changes or never fitted cleanly into either binary category.

      But in sport that solution has major problems due to the considerable advantage that sometimes may come with being trans or with being inter-sex and competing as a female athlete.

      Trans is, to my mind, an easy one to dismiss, although I can appreciate the argument for it while still disagreeing. It’s inter-sex issues that are the really thorny issue because the nature and scope of inter-sex differences is broad and diverse, including…[Read more]

      • I’m not sure there’s so much difference between trans and intersex. A trans person is going to have taken a lot of artificial hormones, maybe for a long time, so they’re going to be as untypically male as they are female (whichever way they transition), much like an intersex person.

        As a monist (in the mind-body sense) I would view trans people as having an intersex condition affecting the brain; and the same with homosexuality – a bit controversial, but logical IMO. Once a trans person has taken a load of hormones I don’t see how they can compete “on a level playing field” with either sex.

        I think the thorny issue is a broad one: like every single other biological category, the boundaries of male and female are blurred. Competitive sport is a context in which the boundary has…[Read more]

    • She is not “female” by the definition of the the term so if “she” wishes to compete she’ll have to go in the open category with everyone else (the men).

      Ideally you’d not want to separate out any group of people but the fact is humans are in 99.999% of cases divided into two genetic sex’s. And it’s a known fact one of those sexes is at a significant physical disadvantage to the other.

      So we have a choice, you can watch the fastest people on earth race and never see a woman in top level sport again, or you can make a catagory for women to enable the 50% of the population to compete with each other against others with the same genetic disadvantage (XX chromosomes) to see who is the fastest XX human.

      A catagory is a division based on rules and criteria which define what is…[Read more]

    • The fundamental thing here is that we have got to get to grips with the fact that nature is not as clever as we thought it was at this binary gender thing. It is the 21st Century and human knowledge is building at a cracking pace that very few can keep up with. Rules from a century ago, or 40 years ago, are worthless in the face of knowledge that hardly anyone even suspected existed back then.

      I was particularly struck by the news report that told of the position of AIS intersex athletes. These athletes have been born, and have developed, as women yet they are XY and have higher than female levels of testosterone. However, the fact that they have been born and developed as women shows that the testosterone is of no use to them (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome), so they should…[Read more]

    • Semenya wins at the same range as other women do which is 10 % less than males in the same events. This shows us that the supposedly massive advantage she is said to have doesn’t transfer on to the times she runs at and that is the only place it matters as far as this ruling goes.

      This makes a mockery of the ruling which is a political decision and nothing to do with the times ran by Semenya and her supposedly huge advantage which doesn’t materialise on the track.

    • Undoubtedly a fascinating and controversial topic, which science may inform but not completely solve. I can happily both support Caster and wish for a fair athletic solution, without knowing what it might be, as I sit here, on the fence (ouch!).

      Ina recent report it is stated that Semenya is an “affected athlete” under IAAF regulations, which list the specific differences of sex development (DSDs) that are of concern to sport. These cases all involve “46, XY” disorders, whereby individuals with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell (a pattern normally typical of males)…”

      Elsewhere I have not seen this verified and I don’t think it has been referenced as fact in this thread. I don’t know if it is true, but it is stated in the article that Semenya has acknowl…[Read more]

  • There is consideration in those jobs, many women don’t meet the criteria for the very reason that lives are at at stake. It would solve gender discrimination, it would also end females winning anything and ALL sport would just be men, which was why it was separated in the first place.

  • Some professions have minimal physical criteria that some women can meet. If she can meet the minimum physical criteria she can do the job. It is not discriminatory to set those criteria at a required level that only a very exceptional woman could ever meet… if that is what is required for the job. Even if the levels were set at a standrad that no woman could ever reach there would still be some men who could! In some sports women can and do out-perform men too. It does not follow that men and women should therefore compete together in all sports, men continue to have a marked biological advantage in strength and speed no matter how good the best women can make themselves.

  • So, by your own admission, a mediocre men can out perform the best female athlete in sport where no lives are at risk and yet in jobs where physical strength and speed are some times crucial in saving lives, there is no such consideration in the selection process as recruitment drives and quotas seek to recruit women.
    I’m all for a level playing field in equality in sport. It would solve gender discrimination.

  • I don’t think it is because of a ‘lower level’, it was because men would constantly win ALL the events and women would never win anything. Take 100m racing example, the mediocre male athlete still gets a better time then the best female athlete, they would never get a look in. How would that be fair?

    And regards to SAS and para a female is actually yet to pass the requirement for this even though they have tried.

  • Are there any jobs or professions where women are legally excluded because they are not strong or fast enough?
    It seems daft that while women are able to join the SAS, coast guards, fire and rescue etc, where strength and other physiological factors are life saving, why are women still competing at a lower level to men in sport where no ones life is at risk ?

  • The reason sport is separated generally by sex once athletes hit puberty is because hormones come into play. Testosterone is the advantage that males have over females in terms of growth of muscle and power. If her hormonal makeup is as a male (remembering that it is the hormones that causes this difference in ability) then how is it fair to compete against others lacking this advantage.

    The lactic acid advantage with Phelps is a good point but it’s a natural advantage, just the same as tall people are naturally faster swimmer as they have more pull and shorter people are naturally better gymnasts as they have a lower point of balance and their bodies are easier to flip. Unfortunately having a natural lactic acid advantage is just the same benefit as naturally being suited to a…[Read more]

  • Sport is segregated by sex for a reason.

    Obviously sport is not a level playing field regards many many other genetic factors and top sports people are always going to be genetic freaks who also work hard essentially. But that sex advantage males have is such a huge step difference. There isn’t a gradual gradation in testosterone levels and physique. There are two very distinct populations with a vanishingly small number of exceptions. Even a woman with the most testosterone a woman has ever produced would not be near the male amount of testosterone.

  • I might be wrong but I did read it somewhere that she mainly identifies as male but also identifies as female. Either way I do feel for her but unfortunately I’m not sure how else you protect female sport?

  • That’s what I though too. In fact, I’m sure that was part of her lawyers’ argument – that she was born, brought up and identifies as female.

    I really hate this case, because I can’t see a “fair” solution. CS is an incredible athlete, but it does seem that she has a genetic advantage over other women that means competition against her is less than fair. And yet banning her from competing or making her take hormone surprising drugs doesn’t seem fair either. I honestly don’t know what I think is the right judgement. Maybe, as others have said, different categories?

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