Feisty football girls want equality - not nice-smelling bibs

Julie Scurfield, from Chester-le-Street, is soon to be appointed to the Durham FA Council.
Julie Scurfield, from Chester-le-Street, is soon to be appointed to the Durham FA Council.
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A women's football pioneer says none of the 300 new starters she has seen has ever asked for a Twitter break, a smaller ball or a nicely smelling bib.

Julie Scurfield, from Chester-le-Street, is soon to be appointed to the Durham FA council, having set up the St Cuthbert's Amazons Girls FC in 2004.

The club has more than 100 women and girls on its books, some as young as four, and runs eight teams across the age groups.

Its most senior team is vying for promotion from Durham County FA Women's Development Division, but when it started as a junior side it took three seasons to score a goal and four to win a game.

Ms Scurfield,who insists she is club chairperson, not chairman, said: "I have been involved in developing girls' and women's football for 12 years.

"Over 300 girls and women players have been involved and none have ever asked for a Twitter break, smaller footballs or nicer smelling bibs.

"What they want is to be treated equally, they want to be supported to develop into the best footballers they can be, and they want the same opportunities to train and play as boys."

She said young girls "did not need to be wrapped up in cotton wool".

She added: "Some of my young footballers are some of the toughest young people you could meet, they are resilient, spirited and feisty."

In a positive move, the Durham FA has invited her to join its council to represent girls' and women's football.

And she plans to campaign to let girls play in girl-only leagues at a younger age in the county.

Currently. the youngest local girl only leagues are U9s, but they can play in mixed sides at a younger age.

Ms Scurfield said: "Girls who come to us who have previously been in mixed teams say they much prefer playing with girls.

"They get treated the same and boys don't tend to pass to them."

She believes girls should have the choice to play in mixed teams or in a girls' league at a younger age.

Ms Scurfield would prefer the FA looked at its own governance arrangements, saying: "They should be looking at their own structure and ask themselves 'Where are all the women?'"