Joey Barton says women’s football will remain an “inferior product” unless changes are made to the size of goals, balls and pitches in the game.

Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes suggested the difference in average height between men and women would support a reduction in the size of goals in the women’s game.

Barton said goal size and weight of the balls should be changed to tailor the game better towards women.

“It’s a different sport though really, in essence – women’s football should be adjusted for women, physiologically, biologically, the goal sizes and the weight of the ball should be [changed]. If we’re going to make women’s football better, as a spectator sport, to stand on its own in the marketplace, if you keep playing on the same size of pitches as men with the same size of football as men and men’s rules, you’re always going to have an inferior product – because men are bigger, stronger and faster than women. Let’s be realistic about it. The size of a football for men’s a size five, say we moved the size of a women’s football down to a size four, would anybody really notice the difference? No, but I guarantee you in terms of the physicality and the output, level of passes and the range of passes players some of the women players would then be able to do because the ball’s a bit smaller and the ball’s more suited to their physiological state.”

FIFA considering staging Women’s World Cup every two years

FIFA is considering staging a Women’s World Cup every two years instead of four, president Gianni Infantino has confirmed. “This is something we need to consider and we are considering it. There are a lot of exciting points with regards to women’s football in the next few years.”

The USA retained the Women’s World Cup in France last summer, beating the Netherlands 2-0 and the next location of the tournament in 2023 is yet to be decided. Brazil, Colombia and Japan have launched bids to host the competition, while Australia and New Zealand have made a joint submission.

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