Monday, 22 June 2015

Soccer Mad Boffins Present Paper

On Friday 19th June we had the honour of presenting a paper at the CEGBI/CSWL summer conference at University of York.  Our paper was entitled  ‘A life between the lines: the mysterious world of football referees’ and explored the role and contribution of referees to football's governing bodies, as well as the rules of the game. The abstract can be found here

Friday, 19 June 2015

Grimethorpe Black Diamonds Ladies

Following our previous post commenting on the FIFA Womens' World Cup, our colleague Professor Stephen Linstead (University of York) has brought to our attention this clip from 1968 about the Grimethorpe Black Diamonds Ladies Team:

As well as providing rare archive footage of womens' football in the 1960s, the Grimethorpe Black Diamonds clip also offers insight into the relationship between industry/industrial communities and sport.   

Perhaps the most famous 'industrial' women's team were the Dick, Kerr Ladies Team which comprised munitions factory workers during WW1:

All of this is of course a long way from Canada 2015, temporally, spatially, and financially, but serves as an interesting reminder of the roots of women's football and also how far the sport has come in recent times in terms of recognition and professionalisation.  According to, the 2015 World Cup has seen women's football attracting a great deal of new interest from sponsors (although in 2015 this is from global sportswear brands, rather than local munitions factories and collieries!) and is considered to be an important opportunity by FIFA as a means by which to achieve their sponsorship targets.  

Given the reported funding problems and financial inequalities in the women's game, particularly in and between the teams from the CONCACAF region (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) and CAF region (which encompasses African Football Associations), new money in womens' football will be well received - although the challenge will be to avoid the pitfalls associated with commercialisation of soccer and alleged financial irregularities and mis-management that have beset the men's sport in recent years.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 - A Feast of Football

Whilst the world of football was rocked by events in Switzerland around the FIFA presidency elections, the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals kicked-off in style with a 1-0 victory by this year's hosts Canada over China (who were the inaugural hosts way back in 1991).

There have been some tremendous score lines including Germany's 10-0 win over Cote D'Ivoire, Cameroon's 6-0 victory over Ecuador, Switzerland's 10-1 win , also against Ecuador.  There have also been a couple of 4-0's, a 3-2, and a 3-3, and we are not yet past the group stages. Of course, there have also been many matches with substantially lower score lines, but there is no denying that it has been entertaining: 88 goals in 28 matches, at the time of writing, an average of 3.143 goals per game, but only two goalless draws so far (Canada v New Zealand in Group A, and USA v Sweden in Group D).

England's 2-1 win over Mexico was a great advertisement for the tournament, a close scoreline with goals at either end and a high standard of technical ability throughout.  FIFATV have made highlights available on youtube:

The remainder of the group fixtures take place today (16th June) and tomorrow (17th June), with the Second Stage of 'knockout' fixtures beginning on 20th June and culminating in the Final on July 5th.
More information can be found at and also via the BBC at: