Football association Forward: ‘Women are welcome, but they don’t sign up’

It’s completely untrue that student football association GSAVV Forward excludes women, says its president Daniël Mijnders. They’d love a women’s team, but not enough women sign up for the club to form one.

Mijnders doesn’t understand how CUOS, the organisation that advises the board of directors on grant allocation, got the idea that the association actively excludes women. ‘We truly don’t know where they got that from.’

However, this notion could have dire consequences. CUOS has advised the UG to no longer give Forward any committee grants, as associations that aren’t open to women would be a bad fit for a university that prioritises diversion and inclusion.

The university council and the board of directors discussed the CUOS’ advice during the committee meeting last week and largely agreed with their reasoning. Only student party SOG wondered out loud if taking away committee grants was the right method to effect a cultural change.

No competition

But Mijnders wonders how they’re supposed to form a women’s team if no women sign up to join the association? 

‘We recently contacted the Royal Dutch Football Association to ask about the women’s competition on Sunday, and they told us there isn’t one in the north of the Netherlands.’ That means that even if a sufficient number of women signed up, they’d only be able to play against themselves.

Sixth tier

Forward’s reasoning might sound strange when you consider that clubs like the Knickerbockers or Oranje Nassau have been playing in women’s competitions for years. The difference lies in the divisions the clubs play in. The associations above both have a team in Hoofdklasse A and Oranje Nassau also has a team in Eerste Klasse B.

‘Our first men’s team is in the sixth tier of amateur football’, says Mijnders. ‘That’s quite a few levels down from hoofdklasse.’ Even if Forward is able to put together a women’s team, Mijnders thinks it would be on the same level as their men’s team. But as mentioned above, there’s no competition for them to play in in the region.

‘I hope we can show people that we don’t actually exclude people’, says Mijnders. The university council will discuss CUOS’ advice again this Thursday and will make a decision afterwards.


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