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‘Genuinely in love with the game’ football fan experiences and perceptions of women’s football in England

Williams, John and Pope, Stacey and Cleland, Jamie (2022) '‘Genuinely in love with the game’ football fan experiences and perceptions of women’s football in England.', Sport in Society .


Women’s sport, and perhaps especially women’s football, in England has enjoyed much greater media visibility and support over the past decade. But we still know relatively little about the response of fans of men’s football to the rise of the women’s game and their views on attending it. This paper highlights responses from 2,347 fans of the men’s game in Britain to BBC terrestrial coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup of 2015. It also investigates general views on women’s football, experiences of attending matches and the perceived barriers to match attendance. It argues that there remains residual resistance to the women’s game, but also increasing reflexivity about its performance and prospects. Concerns over the financial excesses of the men’s game and about the values expressed in its elite versions additionally contribute to more positive attitudes and expectations in our sample about the future of elite women’s football.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:18 February 2022
Date of first online publication:04 January 2022
Date first made open access:18 February 2022

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