A FATHER has threatened to take the Football Association to court if it fails to revoke a rule stopping his 11-year-old daughter from playing in the same team as boys.
Emily Hollinshead and her father Mark, of Crewe Road, Nantwich, have contacted the Equal Opportunities Commission after they discovered FA restrictions prevent girls aged 12 or over from playing with boys.
The law means Emily will be forced to quit South Cheshire Youth League side Lookers Vauxhall U11s to find an all-girl team for the start of next season unless the rules are changed at an FA Council meeting at the end of this month.
Mr Hollinshead said: ‘It is ludicrous my daughter should have to stop playing. She is better than many of the boys she comes up against.
‘Girls in the UK are on average taller and heavier than boys until the ages of 13.5 to 14.5 yet the FA says ‘differentials in power and strength would place girls at an unacceptable risk of injury’.
‘She is a pivotal player in her team and her teammates and manager are devastated. She has aspirations to play at the highest level.
‘If women can fight for their country on the front line in war zones then girls should be able to play football with boys if they wish.’
He added: ‘I won’t discontinue the legal side until I know for definite Emily can play next year. I am convinced that with the dramatic changes in social equality over the past 10 years the FA would lose and would have exposed themselves to public ridicule.’
Emily, who also captains Wybunbury Delves Primary School and is a member of Crewe Alex Girls School of Excellence, said: ‘I am one of the tallest and best players in my team and the fastest runner, so to stop me from playing is unfair and is sex discrimination.’
The FA says it has conducted extensive research in response to the claims. A spokesman added: ‘We are considering moving the age to under-14s or allowing a one-year dispensation for girls who want to play next season.’