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Woman MP's Parliament football ban

Tracey Crouch MP
Tracey Crouch MP

An MP has been banned from playing football for the Parliamentary side - because she is a woman.

Tracey Crouch, who represents Chatham and Aylesford, used to play for the team between 1996 and 1998.

More recently she had participated in the rough and tumble of parliamentary five-a-side.

There political differences are sacrificed for the greater good of team loyalty - and winning.

"It is ridiculous," she said. "Yes, it does annoy me.

"I have played for and against many of the members of the parliamentary team, and they know I am perfectly capable of looking after myself."

The ban was introduced when the House of Commons team came under the wing of the Football Association.

The FA Shareholders were forced last week to ease the restriction on girls playing in mixed teams. They raised the age level from 11 to 13.

It followed a petition by an 11-year-old Devon schoolgirl and defender from the Newton Abbot 66 club which won 6,000 signatures.

The FA had spent two years investigating whether to extend the age limit for girls playing in boys' leagues, but a year ago stakeholders at an annual meeting voted it out.

Ironically, Miss Crouch believes the ban should come in at 13.

"It's because of the physical differences at that age," she said. "You have to consider players' safety."

She said the games played by older single-sex teams were different.

"The men's game is fast, more pacey, but women can be more technically adept," she said. "It's a nice difference."

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