KNVB gives permission for amateur women to play in a senior men’s team in the Netherlands.



In the 2020/2021 season, the KNVB is starting a pilot in collaboration with VV Foarut to allow women in amateur football to participate in category A for men. Ellen Fokkema (19) gets a dispensation to play football in the first men’s team of VV Foarut, which plays in the fourth division. Based on the results of the pilot, the KNVB will evaluate whether there is a good basis for allowing women and men to play mixed football in category A, and to permanently amend the regulations.

Girls can now play mixed football from the youngest pupils to Under 19. However, as soon as boys move on from under 19 to category A of the men, the woman is forced to play football in category B with the men or in a women’s team. By granting dispensation and monitoring it on an individual basis, as will now be the case at VV Foarut, the KNVB can formulate a good vision of this issue in the future, but also give the women who are eligible to do so the space to play. experience in category A.

Very challenging

“It’s fantastic that I can continue to play in this team,” responds Ellen Fokkema, player of the first team of VV Foarut. “I’ve been playing with these guys since I was five and I was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to play with them in a team next year. From the KNVB I was always advised to continue playing with the boys for as long as possible, so why shouldn’t it be possible? It is quite a challenge, but that only excites me more. I asked the club if something was possible and together we submitted the request to the KNVB. My teammates also reacted enthusiastically that I can stay with them. I dare not say how it will go, but I am very happy anyway that I can participate in this pilot. ”


“Every year there is a request from an association to let a woman play football in their first men’s team,” says Art Langeler, director of football development at the KNVB. “In my opinion it is special that girls at all levels can play mixed football, but as soon as boys move on from under 19 to category A of the men, they have to play football without the woman in their team. The KNVB stands for diversity and equality. We believe that there should be room for everyone in every way. Moreover, in these cases there is a nice sporting challenge that we do not want to block. That is why we are starting this pilot. Experience will tell if and how it works. We will monitor how things are going in close consultation with the club. Based on that, we could apply a change of regulation. ”

Mixed football

Women’s football was recognised in the Netherlands in 1971 and has been an official part of the KNVB ever since. Mixed football was introduced in 1986. Initially, this step made it possible for boys and girls up to the age of twelve to play football with and against each other. Mixed football expanded in the following years to the competitions for the older youth categories: in 1995 to category B. Since 1996, boys and girls can also play with and against each other in category A youth. Mixed football enabled girls in every village and every district of a city to join a football club. Nowadays it is quite normal for boys and girls to play football together, especially in the pupils many youth players play mixed.




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