“If we commit to attracting girls and women, clubs will remain for everyone.”

Lisa Westerveld: “Dedicate yourself to attracting girls, women, people with disabilities and walking football for the elderly. Then this club really belongs to everyone.” – Photo: Rob Coopers

In the run-up to the debate in the House Committee on Sports on Wednesday 29 June, a number of MPs will present their views on the role of football and sport in general in society. In the third episode: GroenLinks MP Lisa Westerfeld.

Lisa Westerfeld wearing her favorite T-shirt, custom made with the Wahl Bridge logo.

What opportunities and challenges do you see for Dutch football in the next three years?

“Football is the most popular sport in the Netherlands for a reason. I still regularly enjoy playing on the soccer field. Not only is it nice to play sports, but on and around the soccer field you get to know each other. People know and experience their highs and lows together. But it is difficult to ensure that everyone can continue to participate. And we see that differences in health are increasing and we know that children are playing sports less and less. At the same time, I see the greatest opportunities in this: let football be the place where everyone can participate, I would like To see amateur clubs focus mainly on the lower teams, put the best coaches there, stop payments and other bonuses in amateur football, force players to go to a new club and the league is over. Dedicate yourself to attracting girls, women, people with disabilities and walking football to the elderly. Then This club really belongs to everyone.”

Are you for or against the Premier League?

The Premier League is actually a purely commercial initiative. But football doesn’t have to be about money.

“Specifically for the sake of making football for everyone, I am not in favor of a Super League where obscene clubs play against each other and inequality in football increases. It is no coincidence that many fans and other clubs oppose it. The Premier League is in fact a purely commercial initiative “But football shouldn’t just be about money. The smaller clubs in Europe, with less money, should also be able to dream of European supremacy. If the Premier League happens, it will be for all Dutch clubs in one fell swoop.”

Is sport a right or a duty?

“Sport and exercise keep us physically and mentally healthy. They prevent loneliness, make friends and teach children to work together. But sport and exercise are not affordable for everyone, for example because parents cannot pay the contribution, or the supply is insufficient for people with disabilities. The aid is not compensated.Partly because there is no one responsible for the sports on offer, which is strange indeed: because more sport and exercise is not only good for the individual, but also for society as a whole I am in favor of enshrining the right to sport and its exercise legally in law Sports, so that it is clear who is responsible for the sports show and that everyone has access.”

What is the social value of Dutch amateur football?

“In many places, the football club is the beating heart of the village or neighborhood. It is a place where people gather, meet each other, work on their health, but also organize fun things. This is the strength of football. But also professional football has value “The stadium is the place where the fans come together and enjoy their club. Or cry together. Or watch the matches of our men’s and women’s national teams. Football has tremendous value for our society in all aspects.”

What is your all-time favorite football jersey, amateur or professional? And why?

“My favorite shirt is the current one I play in. It was specially made by my coach, with the logo containing the Waal Bridge of Nijmegen included in the design. But it’s also a nice shirt because it’s a female model. It might sound weird, but I’m used to the fact that as a girl and a woman, “You always have shirts that don’t fit well, and sometimes you get men’s textiles that are way too big for anyway. Thankfully, women’s shirts are now more common in football.”

“All strata of our society unite in amateur football”
– Episode 1 with Mohamed Al Mohandes (BFDA).

“I see the Premier League as a threat to the Dutch league”
Episode 2 with Michelle Van Nispen (SP).

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