Joey Barton Believes Women's Football Should Have Smaller Balls, Pitches And Goals
Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton believes there needs to be radical changes made in the women's football so that the game is "more suited to their physiological state".
The former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder was on the Football, Feminism & Everything in Between podcast with hosts Grace and Alistair Campbell.
And Barton suggested the women's game is played with a smaller ball, smaller nets and smaller pitches for it to not be an "inferior product" to men's football, where athletes are "bigger, stronger and faster".
He said: "It's a different sport though really, in essence - women's football should be adjusted for women, physiologically, biologically.
"The goal sizes and the weight of the ball should be [changed].
"If we're going to make women's football better, as a spectator sport, to stand on its own in the marketplace, if you keep playing on the same size of pitches as men with the same size of football as men and men's rules, you're always going to have an inferior product - because men are bigger, stronger and faster than women.
"If you tailor it, women's football could take a lot of strides tactically and technically - way beyond its current limitations.
"Let's be realistic about it. The size of a football for men's a size five, say we moved the size of a women's football down to a size four, would anybody really notice the difference?
"No, but I guarantee you in terms of the physicality and the output, level of passes and the range of passes, some of the women players would then be able to do because the ball's a bit smaller and the ball's more suited to their physiological state."
Barton's comments echo the sentiment from Chelsea women's boss Emma Hayes. She believes the goal is "a little too big" for women's goalkeepers at present and was quoted as saying there is a need to adapt the game for "physical expectations as well as the tactical implications.
Opinions on the matter have been split, however, with Faye White, England's longest serving captain, telling SPORTbible she "can't understand" the calls to introduce smaller goals.
White stated: "I don't think it's a great thing for our game and making it accessible. We need it to be accessible for young children to play.
"We have a problem with a number of women's sides having to play at men's grounds at the moment and having another barrier as far as the goal size when you have to think about putting a match on, it wouldn't be as easy and accessible to help grow the game."