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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Wednesday, November 25

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Searching for an equal playing field

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - FA Women’s Continental League Cup Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Hi, everyone!

At the top today is defender Ashleigh Neville, who joined the club in 2017.

Ramble of the Day

I did not get around to sharing this last week, but Suzanne Wrack wrote a piece for The Guardian about the latest lockdown in the UK, and how that has played into limiting women’s football. Put simply, men and boys received less restrictions to continue playing while women’s and girls’ football has limits imposed on it (Wrack doesn’t mention it, but the women’s FA Cup was paused during this lockdown). Wrack then makes this point:

There should never be a situation where a young female footballer is being told she cannot play while her male equivalent can continue. It shatters the illusion of equality and could actively hinder the “be whatever you want to be” message that women’s football is trying to instill in girls.

Wrack wrote that the coronavirus pandemic “exposed” the inequalities in the systems, and details them. While Wrack spelling out the argument makes the article worth a read, I’d like to spotlight the opening example of her piece. Equal access to the sport has to be the minimum requirement when it comes to treating men’s and women’s football equally, and it is pretty shameful that the FA and other governing bodies have struggled at accomplishing just that. The inequalities really start to pile on from there.

Struggling at the very first hurdle hinders the growth of the women’s game. Many like to use metrics of the men’s game to gauge the women’s, and some of those comparisons are warranted. Without similar or equal starting points, which the men’s and women’s games clearly do not have, it is pretty difficult for the women’s game to reach a place the men’s game is, if you feel the need to compare.

I’m reminded of a Twitter thread The Athletic’s Katie Whyatt did after publishing a piece about Liverpool forgetting its women’s team with its brand new training ground. (It’s another terrific piece worth reading if you have a subscription.) I’ll redirect you to it since that, too, is worth reading, and generally worth keeping in mind as we continue to gauge where the women’s game is and where it should be.

Links of the Day

Several top players. led by Zlatan Ibrahimović and Gareth Bale, are considering legal action over the use of their likenesses in EA Sports’ FIFA.

David Squires imagines James Milner’s tour of Liverpool’s new training ground in his latest cartoon.

A longer read: Megan Rapinoe on her decision to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead in 2016 and take a knee in protest of police brutality in an excerpt of her book One Life, shared by The Guardian