Over the next two days, one of the most important events in the British sporting calendar takes place. No, not the final day of the Premier League season. Badminton Horse Trials, obviously. This is one of only two annual horse trials in the UK (and six in the world) at which eventers compete at the top level. Oh, and one of the favourites to win is British. So of course the BBC is broadcasting it on one of their main channels, right? Wrong.
During the London Olympics, equestrianism was one of the most popular sports on the BBC red button channel, with the freestyle musical dressage (aka horse dancing) in particular attracting a wide audience. But Badminton, a three-day event involving professional sportsmen, has only been blessed with two hours of BBC2 coverage (this Sunday, 14:30 – 16:30, if you’re interested).
On Thursday night, on the other hand, the BBC decided to devote two and a half hours of programming to a qualifying match of the Women’s football World Cup. If it were the final, I’d have understood I suppose. But a qualifying match? Seriously?
Alright, alright, I understand the ‘equality’ side of things Since men’s football gets so much coverage, surely it’s only fair that the women’s version should also receive a bit of coverage. But if we’re going to pull the equality card, then hang on a minute. I’m all for promoting minority sports. But there's more to equality than just female versions of men’s sports.
Eventing (and, indeed, most equine sports that I can think of) is one of the few sports when women and men compete on a completely equal level, and where there are just as many male as female competitors. Now that’s what I call proper equality.