Published: 14:13, 22 July 2021
| Updated: 14:16, 22 July 2021
A football league have been accused of "effectively banning" girls from playing the game they love.
The Kent Girls & Ladies Football League (KGLFL) last night passed a vote which prevents girls from being dual-signed to clubs in the Junior Premier League (JPL).
It means girls who wish to continue playing JPL football on Saturdays can no longer play in the KGLFL on a Sunday.
Critics say girls are being discriminated against, arguing boys can play both days in other leagues, and questioned the impact on mental health.
But, responding on Twitter, the KGLFL defended the vote and insisted no one had been ‘banned’.
Kings Hill FC had written to the league before the vote, urging them to rethink proposals and avoid forcing players to make a choice.
They said: “Under the proposed new rule, you are effectively banning girls from representing a club which some have represented since they were nine years old.
“This is in direct opposition to our own constitution of offering a girl a place for life and it would mean they are no longer able to play with their friends who they have grown up playing with.
“As a league member, we would have expected a great deal more consultation on a matter that would have a very damaging impact on the fabric of our club.
“Our girls’ section is still in its infancy and this rule change will potentially result in three teams being unable to field a side next season in the KGLFL.
“With twice as many girls as boys dropping out of sport at the age of 14, we would implore you not to create a scenario that sees girls being asked to leave our club as we no longer have enough players available.
“Furthermore, at a time when many players have suffered with mental health issues as a result of reduced interaction with friends at school and socially, this is yet another blow to their fragile state of mind.”
Following the vote, Kent Football United said: “Should a league propose and push through a rule change which prevents girls from playing on a Saturday and Sunday in different leagues?
"Even though boys can do it? Doesn’t matter when they play for their districts? Equality?
“Reducing opportunities for a growing sport and forcing them to make a decision between teams. Unfair.
“Should girls not have the same opportunities as boys to access the game they love?
“Participation preached by the same people taking it away.”
The JPL said: “It’s 2021 and girls are being told where and when they can play. In 2021. Yep - 2021.”
A Kent Girls & Ladies League statement said: “We appreciate there are different opinions on tonight’s rule changes and the JPL.
“However, the change was proposed many weeks ago and voted for by member clubs tonight - with all clubs having the opportunity to state their case.
“To be clear, the rule does not ‘ban’ any player from playing, not does it discriminate against girls as it brings us in line with many boys leagues.
“We will happily answer any points or questions that are addressed to us via your club officials.”
The league have been approached for further comment.