Bill may score for the girls

24th June 2005 at 01:00
Schools could be forced to run girls' football teams under new legislation to promote equality between the sexes.

Under the Equality Bill, before Parliament, schools, colleges and local authorities will have to ensure they do not discriminate against boys or girls and will have to provide equal resources and offer equal activities to both sexes.

Provision need not be identical but must attract the same resources and meet the same standards.

Schools will not be expected to run football or rugby teams for girls where there is no demand, nor will they have to run netball teams for boys. But where girls demand a football team, schools could be expected to provide it.

The commission has said the new Bill is the most radical change in sex-equality law since the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975.

How much the new law will affect schools will be made clear in regulations.

Faye White, captain of the England women's football team in the recent European championships, said: "Chances to play football were limited when I was growing up. There are only 130,000 registered female football players in England. Germany, who won Euro 2005, have almost a million."

LEADER 22

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