Fresher denied the right to play in friendly five-a-side because she was a woman

They didn’t want her to ‘get injured’

5 a side football lincoln Students

A fresher was told she could not play football with boys because she might get hurt.

Laura Gates, a Media first year at Lincoln, was told she could not participate in a casual 5-a-side football team because she is a woman.

After deciding to set up a five-a-side team with her boyfriend, Laura was told she was not allowed to play. She was the only woman in the team.

Laura and her boyfriend had originally decided they wanted to set up a team with their friends at a freshers’ sports fair.

When she asked about setting up a team the person on the reception desk told her women were “definitely allowed” to play since five-a-side football is very informal and more like a kick about.

Laura, who has played football since she was eight, said after she had got the team together: “We handed in our form and had our student cards scanned, thinking it was all fine.

“It wasn’t until three or four days after that when we went to pay for our affiliation that they said I couldn’t play.

“They were quite rude and said they didn’t want me to get injured and there’s nothing they could do about it.”

Although the Sunday league Laura was trying to join was more social, the issue with her joining in was the fact they were a mixed team.

FA rules say that people above the age of 16 cannot play in mixed teams, but female team against female team is fine.

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Laura has been playing since she was eight

The problem was that she was told twice she could play with her male friends and only on the third time told she couldn’t.

Following the denial to play, Laura’s boyfriend emailed the sports centre, which was than passed on to the league manager, duty manager and sports development officer. A few days later Laura’s friend Mike, the team captain, received a voice-mail further confirming that she could not participate.

“It hasn’t been resolved as far as I’m aware as I feel I was given false information and I should be allowed to play,” Laura said.

“It’s supposed to be a casual five-a-side league for fun with friends. Women should be allowed to play as we are supposed to be treated as equal. But apparently there’s nothing I can do.”

Laura’s friends said they they weren’t going to play if she couldn’t so they didn’t pay their affiliation fees and as far as Laura knows some have joined a different league.

A University of Lincoln spokesman said: “We encourage students across the University to get involved in sports, and we have a wide range of clubs, activities and individual sports for them to participate in. Through the Sports Centre, the University runs a Five-a-side football league, with pro-level games on Thursdays and relaxed social games Sundays. As these leagues are affiliated to the FA, they are subject to the FA’s regulations, which state that there can be no mixed teams if players are over the age of 16. This position has been clarified with Sports Centre staff. Groups with 15 or more students can apply to set up new sports clubs for casual activities through the Students’ Union, and mixed football teams would be more than welcome.”