“It will be a massive moment for women’s football and it’s been a long time coming. I think it’s great.”
Alex Scott knows what this means for women’s football. Parity with the men’s game may, she acknowledges, lie someway ahead, but the announcement that the women’s game will feature in the latest incarnation of EA Sports’ long-running FIFA franchise is another indication of the important steps being taken by a side of the beautiful game that is finally gaining attention, visibility and, most importantly, momentum.
In the past year the England women’s team played at Wembley for the first time – attracting a higher attendance than the men had managed for a friendly against Norway two months earlier – Eni Aluko became the first female footballer to appear as a pundit on Match of the Day and Republic of Ireland international Stephanie Roche was shortlisted alongside Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez for the 2014 FIFA Puskas award, for the best goal of the year.
With every game of the World Cup in Canada being broadcast live on the BBC, and the Women’s Super League going from strength to strength in its fifth season, the presence of the women’s game on the best-selling sports video game franchise in the world represents another watershed moment for the sport.