The FA women's super league : framing developments in elite women's football

SEQUERRA, Ruth (2014). The FA women's super league : framing developments in elite women's football. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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In 2009, the Football Association (FA), the national governing body of football in England, announced its plan to introduce the country's first semi-professional women's elite league. Launched in 2010 as the FA Women's Super League (FA WSL), its introduction provided both an opportunity to research whether this evidenced a change of position for the women's elite game within footballing narratives and also to examine the place of the FA within these. This study adopted a critical sociological feminist approach to deconstruct the assumptions, values and practices that frame the female game and the introduction of the FA WSL, while providing new insights into the role of the sport's governing organisation in defining elite women's football. Through observations at matches and interviews with people working within the women's game, an examination of the development and introduction of the FA WSL was undertaken, with valuable early insights provided into the first three years of the new League. The study identified that the introduction of the FA WSL was impacted upon by the complex, closed and gendered nature of the FA's organisational structure. The new League adhered to traditional societal concepts of hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity and liberal approaches to gender equality. The study also found that the new elite women's structures required the clubs who gained entry into the FA WSL to adhere to commercialised, spectacularised and commodified values which dominate the men's game and neo liberal societal narratives. The increased inclusion of females into elite football structures did not profoundly disrupt traditional discourses or provide evidence of a fundamental challenge to gender inequality in the game.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Woodhouse, Donna [0000-0002-7140-9423]
Thesis advisor - Fielding-Lloyd, Beth
Additional Information: Supervisors: Dr Donna Woodhouse and Dr Beth Fielding Lloyd
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2017 12:11
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:03

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