The FIFA Women's World Cup is underway in Germany - but does anyone care...and should they?
The majority of male football supporters scoff at the mere mention of women's football. When the BBC show the Women's FA Cup final each year, men can be heard across the land ridiculing the sport, the game and the players. Women's football has, it is safe to say, struggled to be taken seriously, even in today's more equal, more broad-minded world.
Football remains a male dominated, almost male exclusive sport. But is this fair? And what can the sport's governing bodies really do about it? How can women's football gain both credibility and coverage?
That last question is a bit chicken and egg, unfortunately. You'll hear many people say that only by increasing coverage will the women's game gain credibility in the eyes of the football supporter - of either sex. Yet coverage is not going to increase unless there is demand for it and, as sad as it may be, there simply isn't.
There are more female football supporters in the UK, Europe and around the world than there have ever been but even they are more interested in the men's game than the women's.
The FIFA Women's World Cup is taking place in Germany as I write and while the BBC is providing decent coverage via its website, one does wonder how many people are reading it.
I think it's fair to say that both versions of the game should be given equal amounts of respect, if not coverage, to do otherwise is unfair. To write the women's game off as pointless is blatant sexism. The sport, just like any other, should receive a level of coverage and investment that suits the demand for it and it should strive to improve that demand itself.
That won't be easy, especially with an inferior product. I realise I might be accused of sexism myself with that statement, but I have watched enough women's football to know that the standard of play is far below the men's game. Yes, there are some very, very good female players and there have, on occasion, been some fairly decent games but overall women's football is dreadful to watch. Sorry, ladies, but it is.
It is THAT that needs to be worked upon if the game is to become even half as popular as the men's game. Incidentally, I don't think the women do themselves any favours when they produce videos like this from the German national team (not safe for work or kids).
Of course, they are not helped either when the head of the world governing body suggests they should play in skimpy shorts either:
"Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?"
I'm sure the female football-playing world thanked Sepp Blatter for that one.
Let's face it, there is fault on both sides. Men are far too dismissive at best and outright sexist at worse, while the women's game does tend to shoot itself in the foot now and then and has not yet mastered the game to a standard people want to watch.
It's a shame - there really are some genuinely skilled female players. But not enough of them yet and until they are, the women's game will continue to operate under the radar of the general public and in the face of ridicule of the existing football public.