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Women's football first kicked off in Scotland 390 years ago

Church documents reveal women were playing football in South Lanarkshire during 1628.

Anniversary: The first women's football game was recorded in South Lanarkshire.
Anniversary: The first women's football game was recorded in South Lanarkshire. PMPR

You would have to have been living under a rock during the summer if you haven't heard the phrase "football's coming home" at least once during England's World Cup campaign.

But on International Women's Day next year it will be the female game that will be coming back to the place where it first kicked-off nearly 400 years ago.

An ancient document has revealed that the earliest recorded football match involving women in Europe took place in South Lanarkshire 390 years ago.

And it was on the same pitch that the inaugural seminar on women's football in Scotland was announced on Tuesday.

In the church document dated Sunday, August 21, 1628, a Kirk Minister condemns women and men playing football on the Sabbath which was expected to be a religious day devoted to solemn reflection and worship.

Local MSP Aileen Campbell, SWF chairwoman Vivienne MacLaren and Scotland's most successful female footballer Rose Reilly were joined by Karen Grunwell on the Village Green in Carstairs, where the first game is thought to have taken place, to mark the 390th anniversary and announce the seminar that will take place at Hampden Park on March 8.

Post graduate researcher Karen, who is currently studying the history of women's football in Scotland funded by the University of Stirling, is managing the seminar in collaboration with the Scottish Football Museum & Scottish Women's Football.

Its aim is to bring together interested parties to discuss the development of the game and to share best practice.

Karen said: "It is fitting to announce the launch of the inaugural seminar on the anniversary on the first-known record of women playing the game.

"The seminar on March 8 will explore the rich history of women's football and the bright future of the game here in Scotland."

While the specific location of the football activity is not mentioned in the document, the Minister's church in Carstairs is situated at the head of the Village Green with a church having stood on that site long before the seventeenth century.

Historians believe it is reasonable to suggest that the Village Green was the likely focal point for the football activity in 1628.

Aileen Campbell MSP, whose constituency takes in Carstairs said "I am thrilled that Carstairs is the location of the first recorded Women's football game in Europe.

'It is fitting to be welcoming the game 'home' as we promote Women's football and encourage women and girls to take up sport.'
Aileen Campbell MSP

"It is therefore fitting to be welcoming the game 'home' as we promote women's football and encourage women and girls to take up sport."

Vivienne MacLaren, Chairperson of Scottish Women's Football said: "Scotland has a proud history within the women's game and we are delighted to acknowledge that women's football has been present in Scotland for 390 years, far longer than most people would imagine.'

"As custodians of women's football in Scotland we also welcome the launch of the first seminar to be held to share ideas and develop the game in Scotland."

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