Most male football fans are in favour of more involvement of women in the game research shows

A national survey has shown that most men interested in football in Britain would welcome more women into the sport as fans, coaches, board members and match officials.

The online survey conducted by John Williams (pictured) from the Department of Sociology produced replies from over 2,000 fans, 83% of whom were men. Almost half the respondents were in the 46 and over age bracket, broadly reflecting the make-up of top level football crowds in England.

The findings include:

  • 75% of men think media coverage of women’s sport has increased since London 2012. Only 65% of females thought the same
  • 91% of males would welcome more female fans at football
  • 90% would like more female football journalists
  • 86% would like to see more women on club boards

Change might be in the air. The research suggests perceptible changes in male attitudes following extensive BBC TV coverage of the Women’s World Cup in 2015. The majority of men in the sample (69%) had watched the Women’s World Cup on TV in the summer of 2015.

John Williams said: “We do need to be slightly cautious in our conclusions because this is a self-selecting sample. Not all men interested in sport may be as progressive in their views as these men seem to be. But there is some strong evidence here that male fan perceptions about the role of women in sport are changing. Perhaps sports as businesses need to catch up with public opinion?

“It is also interesting to see that the Women’s World Cup in 2015 captured the imagination of so many male fans and that most of them were pleasantly surprised by what they saw.  The women’s game might be emerging for some people as an alternative to the excesses of men’s football.  It has been said that since London 2012 we are in a very positive phase for changing attitudes about women in sport. Our survey provides further evidence that this has happened.”