The characteristics of children and the educational approach
Mixed-sex participation in football
For many years, numerous countries did not permit young people to play mixed-sex football for cultural reasons. Young girls would only be allowed to play football with other girls, regardless of the age difference between them. In the field of education, many countries have now adopted mixed-sex schools, in which children are no longer categorised by their gender, but by age or academic level.
Mixed-sex participation in sport, and football, by young people has followed suit. It is worth noting that certain countries allow mixed-sex participation in football up to the age of 12, while others do not impose any category restrictions at all on mixed-sex football, which explains why football is so well-developed in these countries. Allowing boys and girls to play together contributes to the emancipation of the two genders, improves tolerance and promotes mutual respect. By playing alongside boys, girls gain a more positive image of themselves, increase their self-confi dence and become more aware of their abilities.
Mixed-sex participation in football encompasses all the forms of competition in which girls and boys play with and against one another. In other words, we can use the term “mixedsex football” to refer to any of the following cases:
- a team of boys playing against a team of girls;
- a mixed-sex team (boys and girls) playing against a team of boys;
- a mixed-sex team (boys and girls) playing against a team of girls;
- a mixed-sex team (boys and girls) playing against a mixedsex team (boys and girls).
Allowing mixed-sex football at least up to the age of 12 – wherever possible and bearing in mind the structure of different societies and the cultural and educational opportunities available – will contribute greatly to the development of football in general.