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Special 20x20 panel | 'We're k...
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Special 20x20 panel | 'We're kick-starting a culture'

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

22:31 22 Oct 2020

Sarah Colgan, Fiona Steed, and Rena Buckley all joined Off The Ball on Wednesday to look at the success of the 20x2o movement so far this year.

The 20x20 movement aims to increase coverage of, and participation in, women's sport, with a wide range of activities over the course of 2020 in an attempt to change attitudes sport and its participants.

Colgan, the project lead on the 20x20 campaign, has immense pride in huge progress by the movement whilst being realistic about how much work is still to be done.

"Even if we had 100% increase in attendance, we still wouldn't have filled Croke Park, even nearly - or the Aviva," Colgan told Off The Ball.

"This isn't about rapping people on the knuckles, we have to remember that a couple of years ago there was no tradition of piling people into cars to go to see women's games and families gathering around TVs.

"There is now."

Culture

That culture will change, but Colgan believes it will take time.

"To bring people along with you, there is so much out there to celebrate. Traditions and habits and cultures are things that are formed slowly.

"We were never going to get to 50-50 in two years but now hopefully that is something that can be fast-tracked.

"If I was to say to my kids that women's sport doesn't get equal funding or sponsorship or prize money, that generation will just say 'why?'"

Colgan welcomed the change in media coverage of female sport.

"Off The Ball wouldn't have been well known for covering women's sport. I think on this journey over the last few years Off The Ball's commitment to covering one women's sport or have a female guest on every single show, that is huge progress.

"You are not going to get to equality overnight. It's about all different stakeholders whether media, whether it's sporting organisations, whether it's grassroots in clubs or in schools or sponsors and brands or members of the public.

"That is an ecosystem. If everyone starts to change some habits, we'll kick-start things in terms of culture."

Next for 20x20

As for what happens next in women's sport, Colgan referred to a suggestion from a Lyon star in the Off The Ball 20x20 panel.

"I'd love to see some 'hero brands' come in and take over the section in women's sports.

"Ada Hegerberg said that female athletes have to be treated like a product and you have to treat it properly and invest in that product.

"Start at age six on how to pass and give them the best pitches and the best coaching and it takes years.

"That's what they did at her club Lyon and now they are the best women's club in the world."

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