My support for a recent petition to get Female football players into FIFA got me a few messages on various social networking sites, dismayed as to why I was supporting the cause. Instead of calling them rather colourful names, I decided that writing an opinion piece on the subject was probably a better use of my time.
What is the petition for, I hear you asking. Well, it’s all about getting the female counterparts to the already featured male international and league teams into the game. Nothing more, nothing less. This is where I came across my first set of opposition; it seems that no one can work out why there is even a need for female characters in the game.
” why? It’s a very niche market…” –Sean on Twitter
True, very true, it is a niche market, especially when placed directly next to the overwhelming media giant that is the male football leagues. Unfortunately, I don’t think enough people see this as the problem, people are quite content with the women’s leagues staying in the depths with only very limited publicity. With the help of FIFA implementing female football players into their game, there would be a huge amount of people interested in the female leagues all over the world.
What really annoys me is that the female football players in England (I can’t speak for other countries) volunteer, having to work full jobs on the side; yet can still play brilliant matches of football – some would argue that these games can often be more exciting!
This topic does interlink with sexism in games, there have been a few comments regarding how a team would be represented, whether they would be represented in the correct manor, with a level and fair rating system across both the male and female teams.
“The best I could see happening is the women’s international teams but it’d put FIFA under a LOT of pressure to not represent the women’s teams as inferior, even if they are.” –Nathan on Facebook
EA are certainly wise enough to try and avoid any accusation of being sexist towards any teams. EA will have to tread carefully, and represent all teams in an honest and open way. I think, however, Nathan is right – the general public will want the women’s teams to feel inferior to their beloved Nottingham Forest or Aston Villa, in a similar way to Celtic fans wanting their team to be better than Rangers.
It’s football, rivalry is rife and people will prefer one team over another, it will always work like that. However, when your club has a male and female team, then surely that’s more football for you to watch and enjoy? Getting these teams out there and getting as much support as their male colleagues is something that I feel needs to happen.
I don’t think the FIFA brand can really loose by involving a big new addition like this, it would only increase the fan base, adding many female games to their already huge-but-male-centric gamer base. Football is a huge sport, you only have to look at the US Department of State’s figures that state over 40% of soccer players in the US are girls. EA must agree that that is a huge market to tap into.
You don’t even have to look hard to see that most (apart from two or so exceptions) clubs wear virtually identical kits across both male and female teams. I can’t say with any expertise, however it only seems logical that the rights will be easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive.
FIFA has, in my opinion, needed a proper unique selling point for a while, so why not add the female teams. Let’s shed a little bit of light onto the world of woman’s football in this country; It can only aid EA and FIFA, they have nothing to lose.
So, thanks for reading all of that rant. Do place your name on the petition and catch up with the site later for more news, opinion pieces and a few reviews!