A five-a-side football team say they were told they wouldn’t be able to field a female player because of insurance problems.
Colleagues at Penguin Recruitment in Mumbles decided to put together a team to play at Play Football, which hosts five and seven-a-side football leagues on outdoor pitches at their base on Llangyfelach Road in Treboeth . Their line-up included Lauren Smith, who also plays for Swansea City Ladies football team, who has played the game all her life.
But team members say they were surprised to be told they wouldn’t be able to play with Lauren in the team, after being told there was an issue with insurance.
Lauren, who came to Swansea from Orlando to study for a masters in research psychology and who also works for the recruitment firm, said: “I’ve been playing football for 20 years and since coming to Swansea I’ve been playing with Swansea City Ladies, who are currently first in the league.
“So when we decided to get a team together at work, I was looking forward to playing with the guys here. But when we tried to enter, we were told that I couldn’t play because they did not think women were insured to play. I was a little surprised, I can’t really understand it”.
Colleague Russ Cleverly said: “We got a works team together and we want Lauren to be included. She plays for Swansea Ladies and she’s a good player. I’m a keeper, and she’s ‘megged me a few times. She’s part of our team. We’re an inclusive business, so we can’t really understand why a woman wouldn’t be able to play. It’s is 2019. We’re not really sure what to do now, it’s left us in a kind of limbo”.
Steve Bennett, commercial operations director for Play Football, said: “PlayFootball operate FA affiliated leagues and therefore manage our leagues in accordance with the FA guidance.”
The FA’s guidance to mixed adult football is that women aged up to 18 may play in affiliated boys’ teams or leagues. However, their guidance is that women over the age of 18 are not permitted to do so.
It is, however, conducting a number of pilot programmes, as well as research with Brunel University, to consider potential risks of mixed football beyond the age of 18.