The rise and fall of women's football in Russia

The story behind the photo
14 December 2016
Vladimir Kazantsev/TASS photo
November 16, 1987. Womens' Polytechnic Institute football team. Womens' Polytechnic Institute football team during practice outside in the snow.

Soviet and Russian sports journalism, especially football journalism, has a rich history. In this section Welcome2018 showcases famous sports and football photographs, their authors and the story behind them.

In USSR women started playing football in early 20th century. Before that women’s football had a semi-legal status. In 1972 the USSR Sports State Committee banned it alongside box, wrestling, weightlifting and other ‘manly’ sports, citing their detrimental effect on women’s health.

Women’s football was resurrected in 1980s when regional tournaments were first held. In 1987 the first nation-wide tournament was held in Kishinev, and in 1989 the USSR Women’s Football Association was created.

The photo depicts a practice session of the women’s' Tomsk polytechnic Institute football team. It was made in 1987.