Last updated at 12:38

'We aren't brainless baby Barbies' - pupils' angry letter to the FA

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A group of students have written to the Football Association to complain about the FA's suggestions to encourage more girls to play football.

The students claim a document called "Considerations for Increasing Participation in Women and Girls' Football", written by the FA treated girls like "brainless baby Barbies."

The document was being studied as part of a school writing project about equality in football and they were less than impressed with some of its content.

The FA's suggestions to get more girls into football include

  • Providing colourful bibs, which should be "clean and smell nice"
  • Offering stamps and prizes including pocket mirrors and pink wristbands to encourage girls to attend practice sessions
  • Allowing girls the time to check their phones in a session and adding a social media breaks
  • Stop beginners being put off by "large heavy footballs" and the "risk of being hit by one" by having a variety of different balls and letting the girls choose which one to use
  • Find pitches where women don't play in front of boys or men in case they feel embarrassed

The pupils were so shocked about some of the suggestions that at first they thought it was fake.

Many of them wrote letters to the FA to complain about the content.

A LetterPA
A letter written by one of the girls to the FA

One of the pupils, Grace, wrote: "We are not afraid to get hit by a ball so why would we need light ones; in case we break a nail?"

The school has a girls' and a boys' football team and play football together at lunchtime

The teaching staff sent off a selection of the pupils' letters to the FA at Wembley in November but are yet to receive a reply.

The FA have now given a statement on the issue saying:

"The document is aimed at engaging young women who don't currently play football."

"It was created following research into women and girls playing football, with feedback from both participants and non-participants, and encourages a creative approach to increasing participation numbers."