Cardiff Metropolitan University
93 - Challenging sex segregation - philosophical evaluation mixed football.pdf (351.34 kB)

Challenging sex segregation: A philosophical evaluation of the football association’s rules on mixed football

Download (351.34 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-30, 16:41 authored by Lisa Edwards, Paul Davis, Alison Forbes

 The Football Association (FA) has been under pressure to allow girls to play in mixed teams since 1978, following 12-year old Theresa Bennett’s application to play with boys in a local league. In 1991, over a decade after Bennett’s legal challenge, the FA agreed to remove its ban on mixed football and introduced Rule C4 in order to permit males and females to play together in competitive matches under the age of 11. More recently, following a campaign by parents, coaches, local Members of Parliament and the Women’s Sport Foundation, the FA agreed to trial mixed football for the under-12 to under-15 age categories in order to establish, among other things, the risk of injury to players in sex-integrated competitions. A series of exponential changes ensued: between 2010 and 2014, the age at which mixed football was permitted increased from U11 to U16. In 2015, the FA announced the decision to raise the age limit on mixed football from U16 to U18 for the forthcoming 2015–2016 season. We critically examine the reasons given by the FA for enforcing segregated participation beyond the age of 18, namely that males have an unfair advantage and that females face an unacceptable risk of injury. We also discuss the argument that removing the ban might harm the women’s game. In conclusion, we suggest that the FA ought to abandon the ban on mixed football over the age of 18. 


Published in

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Edwards, L., Davis, P. and Forbes, A. (2016) 'Challenging sex segregation: A philosophical evaluation of the football association's rules on mixed football', Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 9(4), pp.389-400

Print ISSN


Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Lisa Edwards

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Philosophy and Ethics in Sport

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en

Usage metrics

    Culture, Policy and Professional Practice - Journal Articles


    Ref. manager