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'Girls should be allowed to play football with boys'

FA should not prevent girls older than 11 years to play with boys, a British parliamentary committee concluded. Your Take | Should girls play football with boys?
None | By Agence France-Presse, London
UPDATED ON JUL 25, 2006 03:22 PM IST

A British parliamentary committee has concluded that English football's governing body should abolish rules that prevent girls playing in mixed teams with boys after the age of 11,

The Guardian

said on Tuesday.

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee concluded the current restrictions -- imposed in 1921 because the Football Association (FA) deemed the game "unsuitable for females" -- are an artificial barrier to the development of the women's game in Britain, it reported.

The committee is due to officially publish its findings on Tuesday.

According to extracts published by the newspaper, the committee concludes: "We recommend that the absolute prohibition on mixed football over the age of 11 be removed and that an informed assessment of individuals' capacity to play in mixed teams should govern selection policy."

The FA -- which has no women on its board and only one on the 90-member FA Council -- should also become more representative, it reportedly adds.

Women's football in Britain has undergone a transformation in recent years: last year's European championships attracted three million viewers for England matches; sponsorship and professional teams are also on the increase.

Popularity soared after the box office success of the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham to the point where there are now more than 130,000 registered players and more than 8,000 teams.

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