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Levelling the playing field? Post-Euro 2005 development of women's football in the north-west of England

Bell, Barbara (2012) Levelling the playing field? Post-Euro 2005 development of women's football in the north-west of England. Sport in Society, 15 (3). pp. 349-368. ISSN 1743-0437

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Abstract

This paper investigates the longer term impacts of Euro 2005 on participation and organization of women's football in a multi-method case study approach, with a focus in one of the hosting areas in the north-west of England. Using primary data from local football development officers and clubs, documentary sources and secondary data analysis, I consider in this paper whether hosting the event has contributed to any long-term legacy in participations and greater gender equity in the sport, regionally and nationally. The evidence suggests that there is still some way to go before such a claim could be made and the plans to develop a ‘Women's Superleague’ have uncertain outcomes and significant resource implications, particularly at the grass roots of the sport. The possible impacts of such major events on building participation and profile for women's sport are also considered, due to the legacy aspirations from the forthcoming Olympics in London.

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