Leah Williamson: Women’s sport ‘completely overlooked’

Leah Williamson and Megan Rapinoe
Leah Williamson played for England at the SheBelieves Cup in March

Arsenal and England defender Leah Williamson says women’s sport has been “completely overlooked” during the coronavirus crisis.

The Women’s Super League ended in May and final standings were decided on a points-per-game basis.

The men’s Premier League restarted behind closed doors on 17 June.

Williamson, who made 23 appearances for Arsenal last season, hopes women’s football is not affected by being “left behind for that period of time”.

The new WSL season will start on Saturday, 195 days after the previous campaign was curtailed.

“I just hope it hasn’t damaged the progress we’ve made over the last couple of years. We had so much momentum behind the game and things were changing so rapidly for the better,” said Williamson.

“I just really hope as the season plays out, we’re not noticing that we were left behind for that period of time. Having spoken to quite a few people, I think women’s sport in general, not just women’s football, was completely overlooked.

“Sometimes you can’t argue when it comes to funding – it is what it is and you have to be realistic. But I definitely did feel like we were overlooked and I hope that doesn’t show.”

Williamson, 23, added women’s sports “aren’t in the same places as the male sports”.

“Cricket, rugby, football – I feel like when there was movement on the men’s side, it would have been great if it could have been done for us,” she said.

“When you hear that it would have been bad for the game in terms of the long-term effects on the game and money if we’d tried to continue, then of course you make a good executive decision to cut it.

“But it’s obviously hard when you see football happening and you’re not playing.”

Arsenal, who finished third in the WSL last season, face Reading in their first game of the 2020-21 season on Sunday, 6 September.

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