Christmas will come early for Sepp Blatter as the UK’s Lingerie Football League will officially launch next Wednesday.
The former FIFA President who is facing corruption charges was quoted as saying the women’s game would be more appealing if players wore ‘tighter shorts’, but his comments had initially been dismissed by leading figures as sexist.
Founder of the league, Gemma Hughes, insists that it is a move to promote gender equality in sport.
Hughes said to Manchester Confidential:
I’m 23-years-old now and I don’t want to be waiting another 20 years to see women’s football make money from sponsorships.
We know this is scandalous, we know it’s controversial, but that media attention is what’s going to sell tickets.
All money made is going to be put back into women’s football and to the players.
This is not about the players looking beautiful or sexy, it’s about women looking like women.
You only have to look at tennis – the women dress like women and they get same equal pay and similar amount of sponsorship as men.”
The first official game will take place on the roof of Hotel Football, the accommodation owned by ex-Manchester United stars Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
LFL UK will increase public interest in women’s football so that women’s teams can play to packed stadiums, just like the elite men’s football teams.
I believe I’m an activist,” explains Hughes. “People have a knee jerk reaction when they hear about the Lingerie Football League.
But this is not an original idea, it’s seen plenty of success in the United States and is one of their fastest emerging sports.”
The element of skimpier kits will certainly garner some interest, but I’m not convinced that objectifying women will lead to greater gender equality anytime soon. Time will tell I guess.