More than five times more women play football on a men’s team in a single season | Currently

Last season, 292 women played on the men’s amateur teams: more than five times more than last season. Especially in Class B, more women are now playing: 216. For the first time, women were allowed to participate in the so-called Class A, the highest men’s teams. This resulted in 22 women, but the “bycatch” was several times greater. There were 216 new women in Category B, the men’s lowest teams. This is evident from the numbers that NU.nl requested from KNVB.

The union did not expect that the admission of women into category A would lead to the emergence of many new women in category B. Ross Brewer, Chief Football Development Officer: “A lot of people didn’t know it was actually possible in B. This decision also received a lot of media attention.”

This awareness led to new recordings. Because there are more and more women’s teams, but some women prefer to play football with men. The game is more difficult, more urgent and different atmosphere.

Players A usually goes from the lowest men’s teams. But an astonishing number of new B players are “returnees” or members of a club for the first time: more than one in three. “These new members are often women in their 30s or 40s who used to play soccer, but weren’t allowed to. Now they participate in, say, 7 on 7 soccer for a friend or partner.”

Men’s Category A includes:

  • Field: Standard 2nd Class to 5th Class
  • Scope: Reservation of the main class up to and including the third backup class
  • Field: O23 league
  • Hall: Eredivisie, First Class, Hoofdklasse, Topklasse, and sometimes First Class
  • View the full list here
  • Everything below is class B

22 Class A players: That doesn’t look like it’s going on. And besides: Wasn’t it opened too late? Now that women’s football has taken off and the best footballers can go, for example, to the Eredivisie (women’s)? Brewer doesn’t think so.

“We did this at the request of a player and her club,” Brewer says. “We saw no reason not to. Previously there was no need for it, it was only asked once. In the past, women probably did not have the level of football to participate in Class A. Now that it is a football Women’s foot is acceptable, women also have the opportunity to develop to a very good level. Sometimes men even ask if a woman wants to be on their team.”

Lots of mixed play in North and East Holland

The geographical distribution of mixed football is remarkable. Nearly half of the “mixed players” (as the federation calls it) do so in the northern or eastern region. This is not because of the lack of women’s teams there, Brewer says. “The culture of those areas is different. 80 percent of the youth teams under the age of eleven are already mixed there. Moreover, ‘doing things together’ is much more the norm than it is in Randstad.”

Remember Achterhoek as an example, where relatively few young people live and are more dependent on each other. “These boys and girls are more used to doing everything together, whether it’s at school, at a festival or football.”

On the contrary, debt can be a reason to continue playing football separately. There are still a few mixed bands in Zeeland, the Veluwe (“Bible Belt”) and in neighborhoods in the Randstad with many Muslim residents.



According to the union, women’s access to men’s teams leads to fewer problems than expected. Breuer: “There is criticism sometimes. Here and there a man feels his honor has been damaged. But no incidents or abuses have been reported.” In a survey of 78 players, it turned out that they are sometimes called an unpleasant name, but also not always taken seriously.

The union did not receive any reports that the men’s team or the board of directors rejected the women. If this happens, KNVB can mediate. But in the end, the club can decide for itself who plays in which team.

The arbitrator can favor or defect

By the way, the referees are now further instructed that there are more women in the game. “They should not give women an advantage, but they should not harm her. Rulers are sometimes people too, and they also have opinions. They should not think: If a woman wants to be with men, she must be able to take a kick from the bottom.”

The question is whether the number of mixed teams will continue to rise. It doesn’t matter anyway. “It’s not an end in itself,” says Brewer. “It’s not just our goal to play mixed football in 50 years.” “Our goal is: a place for everyone on a suitable team. If women prefer to play football with the ladies, that is fine too.”

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