Dutch Football Federation Allow Female Player Elle Fokkema To Play For Senior Men's Team
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In a truly groundbreaking move, a female player will be allowed to play for a senior men's team in the Netherlands next season.
The KNVB have granted permission for 19-year old Ellen Fokkema to turn out for VV Foarut, who play in the fourth division, as part of a trial.
Mixed football has been in place in Netherlands since 1986, with women able to play with men until the age of 19 - or in a category B men's team once they pass that age.
However, the Dutch football federation have made history by testing out placing a Fokkema in a category A men's squad, which VV Foarut's first-team are ranked as - with a view to further diversity in the future.
Well this is a historic day for soccer. @KNVB granted permission for a female player to join a senior men's team. Elle Fokkema will play for @vvFoarut during the 2020/21 season
- Jonathan Brannan :flag_black: :mask: (@jbrannan27) August 4, 2020
Dutch football association has given the green light to allow a female footballer to play in a senior men's team as part of a landmark pilot scheme. Ellen Fokkema, 19, has been granted dispensation by KNVB to play for 4th division amateur outfit VV Foarut next season. :ok_hand::clap: pic.twitter.com/icY8UwlVAH
- joel khamadi (@Joel_Khamadi) August 4, 2020
Having played with the club since she was five years of age, Fokkema and VV made the request to those higher up and it has now been given the green light.
Ellen Fokkema (19) krijgt dispensatie om in het eerste mannenteam van vv Foarut te voetballen: https://t.co/857YnUhFvn.
- KNVB (@KNVB) August 4, 2020
19-year old Ellen Fokkema will feature for the @vvFoarut first men's team next season.- Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) August 4, 2020
"I've been playing with these guys since I was 5 and I was sorry that I wouldn't be able to play with them in a team next season."
Girls under 19 can play mixed football in Netherlands :flag_nl:. pic.twitter.com/mlA6PObqs2
Reflecting on the monumental moment, Fokemma said, as per NL Times: "It is fantastic that I can continue to play with this team.
"I've been playing with these guys since I was five and I was sorry that I wouldn't be able to play with them in a team next year.
"The KNVB always advised me to play with the boys for as long a possible, so why shouldn't it be possible? It is quite a challenge, but that only excites me more. I asked the club if something was possible and together we submitted the request to the KNVB.
"I dare not say how this will go, but I am very happy anyway that I can participate in this experiment."
The team are said to be excited at the prospect of Fokemma joining the ranks and being part of history in the making.
As per Art Langeler, director of football development at the Dutch FA, the governing body regularly receive requests for women to be part of men's sides at amateur level.
And if this pilot is a success, it could well bring a permanent change to the rules in place.
"The KNVB stands for diversity and equality and we believe there should be room for everyone in every way in football," Langeler stated.
"That is why we start this experiment. Experience will tell if and how it works. We will monitor how things go in close consultation with the club. Based on that, we could apply a change of regulation.".