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Sport: Women's Football

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:15 am on 6th December 2007.

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Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Government Whip, Government Whip 11:15 am, 6th December 2007

My Lords, first, I pay tribute to my noble friend's long-standing expertise and passion for football and to his knowledge of grass-roots football. The Government share many of his concerns. We appreciate and thank the Football Association for its ongoing commitment to the game but, frankly, we want a lot more and we want it a lot faster. We agree particularly with my noble friend about the financial rewards, on which he made comparisons. The England players are realistic about the current status and financial position of the game and have not called for payments equal to those of their male colleagues; perhaps it is to be hoped that one day they will. Instead, their arguments have focused on the wider impact that the level of remuneration has on the game. The majority of players in the England women's team took unpaid leave to take part in the World Cup, which meant that they lost wages and had to recoup their working hours. That severely limits the hours that they can train for club or country. The Government do not think that that is satisfactory.