Women's football: Joey Barton says game will remain 'inferior' without changes

Chile's Claudia Endler became the first goalkeeper to make 10 saves at this year's Women's World Cup following her six against USA
Image: Goals in women's football should be tailored towards the average build of women, says Joey Barton

Joey Barton says women's football will remain an "inferior product" unless changes are made to the size of goals, balls and pitches in the game.

Earlier this year, Chelsea Women's manager Emma Hayes sparked a debate when she suggested the difference in average height between men and women would support a reduction in the size of goals in the women's game. Hayes pointed to the fact that Olympic-size hurdles in athletics were shortened by nine inches for that very reason.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: A detailed view of the match balls prior to the FA Women's Super League match between Bristol City Women and Yeovil Town Ladies at Stoke Gifford Stadium on January 27, 2019 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Image: Consideration should be given to using smaller balls in the women's game, says Barton

Barton has now waded into the debate, saying goal size and weight of the balls should be changed to tailor the game better towards women.

"It's a different sport though really, in essence - women's football should be adjusted for women, physiologically, biologically," the Fleetwood Town boss told the Football, Feminism & Everything in Between podcast.

"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.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14:  Joey Barton of Burnley shows appreciation to the fans after the Premier League match between Burnley and Southampton at Tur
Image: Barton amassed 269 Premier League appearances during his 15-year playing career

"If you tailor it, women's football could take a lot of strides tactically and technically - way beyond its current limitations.

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"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 players 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."

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