Women's association football

Women's association football, more commonly known simply as women's football or women's soccer,[lower-alpha 1] is a team sport of association football when played by women only. It is played at the professional level in multiple countries and 176 national teams participate internationally.[3] The history of women's football has seen competitions being launched at both the national and international levels.

Women's association football
Alex Morgan and Stefanie van der Gragt battle for the ball during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final in Lyon, France
Highest governing bodyFIFA
  • World Game
  • The beautiful Game
First played1880s, Great Britain[1][2]
Team members11 per side (including goalkeeper)
Mixed-sexNo, separate competitions
VenueFootball pitch (football ground, soccer field, soccer ground or "pitch")
GlossaryGlossary of association football
Country or regionWorldwide
OlympicSince 1996

After the "first golden age" of women's football occurred in the United Kingdom in the 1920s, with one match attracting over 50,000 spectators,[4] The Football Association instituted a ban from 1921 to 1970 in England that disallowed women's football on the grounds used by its member clubs.[5] In many other nations, female footballers faced similarly hostile treatment and bans by male-dominated organisations.[6]

In the 1970s, international women's football tournaments were extremely popular[7][8] and the oldest surviving continental championship was founded, the Women's Asian Cup. However, FIFA did not allow a woman even to speak at the FIFA Congress until 1986 (Ellen Wille).[9] The FIFA Women's World Cup was first held in China in 1991 and has become a major television event in many countries.[10][11]

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