New Report Slams Sports' Response to Women's ACL Injuries

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The sports sector's response to the high rates of women footballers suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries has been "disparate and slow," the British Parliament's Women and Equalities Committee said in a report published on Tuesday.

England duo Beth Mead and Leah Williamson, Netherlands forward Vivianne Miedema and Canada international Janine Beckie were among a group of elite players who missed the 2023 Women's World Cup due to ACL injuries.

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In its report, titled "Health barriers for girls and women in sport," the committee highlighted the lack of football boots designed specifically for women.

"In addition to the potential link to ACL injuries, there is evidence that football boots are causing broader problems for many female players," it said.

The sector must do better to increase the availability of female-specific equipment and kit, it added.

"The sports science sector's response to the ACL issue has been disparate and slow," the report said.

"We have no doubt that a health issue of similar magnitude affecting elite male footballers would have received a faster, more thorough, and better coordinated response."

The committee also called on the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee to establish a task force to develop a long-term strategy to address the issue.

A report published by football's European Club Association in 2023 found as many as 82% of female players in Europe experience discomfort wearing boots.

Sportswear brands have said they are investing in female-specific equipment but argue retailers can be reluctant to stock them due to lack of awareness about the growing business opportunity.

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