On 5 December 1921, the FA banned ladies football and unanimously passed the following resoloution, effectively changing the course of the women’s game forever. The declared football as quite unsuitable for females and that it not to be encouraged.
The Football Association (FA) – ostensibly the governing body for the sport as a whole, but really only concerned with men’s competitions – had always taken a dim view of female participation. Women’s football was tolerated during the war, with the men’s game largely shut down and money being raised for servicemen. But in the years that followed the conflict, the FA sought to assert itself. With crowds for Dick, Kerr’s Ladies and others remaining healthy, there was a genuine fear that the women’s game could affect Football League attendances. The FA felt compelled to act.Women’s football was huge during World War One, drawing crowds of 53,000 even after the war had ended.
At 6ft tall (1.83m), Lily Parr was remarkable in many ways. She scored more than 1,000 goals during her 31-year-playing career, according to the National Football Museum. Of those, 34 were in her first season when she was aged just 14.
Her team were exceptional too. The Dick, Kerr Ladies were made up of 11 factory workers from Preston. They went on to become international celebrities and the biggest draw in world football. They remain the most successful women’s team of all time, says the the museum.
But these were also exceptional times. WW1 was being fought and any man fit enough to play football had been sent to fight on the front line. Back home women not only took on their jobs, they also took their places on the football field.