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Why is football still falling short when it comes to girls?

Welcome to Thursday’s Early Edition from i.

The Lionesses’ sensational victory in the semi-finals earlier this week has inspired women and girls around the country. “When us girls started out, we had nothing,” one fan told Yo. “To see women’s football be a sport in its own right, not just piggyback off men’s football, it’s really moving.” But figures out today paint another picture. Equal access to football in school PE lessons is lacking, and there is a disparity when it comes to Premier League football clubs too. We’ll look at where the sport is falling short, as well as what lessons women’s football has for the wider sport, after the news.

Today’s news, and why it matters

The energy price cap will soar to £3,420 in October before climbing even higher to £3,850 in January, according to fresh forecasts. The price cap – which is imposed by regulator Ofgem and limits the rates suppliers can charge households on default tariffs for typical usage – will rise to £3,420 per year in October when the next adjustment is due and then £3,850 in January, according to utilities consultancy BFY.

Rishi Sunak decided to start attacking Liz Truss on TV to show he is “tough enough” for No 10, the former Chancellor has admitted. But he denied being “rude” to Ms Truss in Monday’s BBC debate, saying: “I was just making sure that the points that needed to be debated were heard. I’ve got nothing but enormous personal affection and regard for Liz, as I think everybody knows.”

RMT boss Mick Lynch has called for a general strike if Liz Truss becomes Prime Minister. He called for an “enormous response” from the Labor movement if Ms Truss’s promised crackdown on trade unions comes into effect, and warned it would drive workers “back to Victorian times”. It also comes as train drivers at nine companies say they will strike on 13 August in a pay dispute.

Keir Starmer has sacked shadow transport minister Sam Tarry for defying orders not to join striking rail workers. A Labor spokesperson said it was an issue of “collective responsibility” – and not just because Tarry had joined picket lines.

Dementia residents at a care home in the West Midlands who were at risk of abuse by stafff have been moved out for their own safety after inspectors found “unexplained bruising” and other wounds among residents. Breach House, in Stourbridge, was ordered to improve its services following a tip-off about staffing, management of risks and lack of oversight.

Three factors on female football:

  • Schools: “Whatever happens in the final now, if girls are not allowed to play football just like the boys can in their PE lessons after this tournament, then what are we doing?” former England player Ian Wright, said after Tuesday’s win. Figures show just 44 per cent of secondary schools in England offer girls equal access to football in PE lessons. Just over a third of secondary schools offered girls equal access to football coaching through extracurricular clubs outside school hours. Labor has pointed to a “vacuum left by the Government on school sports” meaning “girls still trail well behind boys in participation”. But those in the field also say “historical perceptions” are to blame.
  • Money: Girls are paying at least £50 a month to play for Premier League football clubs where boys train for free, parents of players have told Yo. While boys who join Premier League football academies are formally contracted – they can’t be paid until they leave school, but it is not uncommon for families to be supported – parents of girls say they have to pay for them to play.
  • What men can learn: Women’s sport is not like men’s, and many aspects of that statement can be positive. As Cahal Milmo explores in this long read, support for the Lionesses has been characterized by sportsmanship on and off the pitch. There is also scientific research showing the game is less foul-ridden and liable to fewer tantrums than its testosterone-fueled counterpart. Another study also highlighted the sense of welcoming in women’s football, in particular for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
England fans watching the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final match between England and Sweden (Photo: Isaac Parkin/PA Wire).

around the world

Russia is shipping in loyalist teachers ahead of the new school year in September, raising fears Ukraine will lose a generation of children to Kremlin propaganda. “They’re destroying books, they’re destroying libraries, they’re burning our textbooks,” says Olena Sotnyk, an adviser to the Ukrainian deputy prime minister and a former member of parliament told Yo.

Almost one million people in a suburb of Wuhan in China have been placed under lockdown for three days, after four asymptomatic Covid cases were detected. Regular testing in the city of 12 million people uncovered two asymptomatic cases two days ago, and two more cases were found through contact tracing.

Rupert Murdoch has decided Donald Trump is finished. One person familiar with the media mogul’s views has told that Mr Murdoch is now “all in” on backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as the next Republican presidential candidate, and it is his son Lachlan who is leading the charge.

Demonstrators have breached Baghdad’s parliament in protest against the selection of a nominee for prime minister by Iran-backed parties. It’s the country’s biggest demonstration since elections were held in October.

A Chinese rocket weighing 22 tonnes is hurtling towards Earth, with around 40 per cent of it likely to survive and crash this weekend. But Chinese state media dismissed concern as “sour grapes” and “exaggeration” by western critics resentful of its space programme.

Watch out for…

a piece of legal history as television cameras broadcast a sentencing at the Old Bailey for the very first time.

Thoughts for the day

From India to Africa, my friends fear for democracy after seeing how corrupt Britain has become, writes Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. The Tory cabal might not care but voters should, she says. What the world thinks of us matters.

The Women’s Euros final is a chance to put right last year’s despicable fan behaviour, writes Victoria Rush. There has been much wrangling about how to make the male game less toxic – and I believe the answer can be found in the women’s game, she says.

Damien Hirst is burning his art because he’s run out of original ideas, says Florence Hallett. Setting fire to your work may sound like a radical act but this project is a hollow gesture, she writes.

Damien Hirst stands in front of one of his paintings in 2012 (Photo: AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

Culture Break

Netflix’s new documentary on Shania Twain finally recognizes one of pop music’s great pioneersand is part of a trend towards the reappraisal of women’s impact on music.

Shania Twain is the only musician to have ever had three consecutive diamond-certified albums (Photo: Alexander Harbaugh)

The Big Read

Molly Blackall joins a life or death sea rescue on the “deadliest known migration route in the world”witnessing the moment screaming children are pulled to safety as their dinghy breaks apart.

Search and rescue crews approach an overcrowded rubber boat found in the central Mediterranean. (Photo: SOS Mediterranean)


A plan to give every England women’s player in history an official cap is now in turmoil because the FA lost records, reports Sam Cunningham.

The FA has given caps to men’s players for 150 years, but never for women (Photo: Getty)

Something to brighten your day

A holiday with young children usually requires plenty of organisation, and a lot of belongings. But with horror stories of missing luggage, lengthy queues and airport chaos, Lucy Zilberkweit decided to take on a fresh challenge – traveling with only hand luggage. Here she lists her tips for a holiday with a lot less stress.

Lucy and her family traveled to Portugal for a 10-day holiday taking only hand luggage (Photo: Lucy Zilberkweit)

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