Brighton have become the first Premier League club to commit to providing female fans with free sanitary products after a campaign was launched by three women who are supporters of Celtic. The Guardian understands that both Liverpool and Everton are also discussing whether they are in a position to offer free feminine hygiene products in the women’s toilets at their stadiums.
The On the Ball campaign was launched in Scotland by students Orlaith Duffy, Erin Slaven and Mikaela McKinley in an effort to increase the visibility of female football fans. But it has now spread across the UK with 13 clubs, including Barnsley in League One, signed up to the initiative.
McKinley said: “I think it takes us back to the role football clubs have a part in the community beyond football. A lot of smaller clubs were quick to come on board because they’re perhaps a bit more in tune with what their fanbase wants. Bbut in terms of visibility it’s great to have a Premier League club on board.”
The trio in charge of the campaign admitted it was awkward initially discussing periods with individuals, who are often middle-aged men, in football boardrooms. McKinley said: “We don’t want to force any clubs to do anything but we want to empower supporters to encourage their clubs to provide free sanitary products either by making existing dispensing machines free of charge or by making boxes of tampons and sanitary towels available. It’s our experience that they will only be used in emergencies anyway.”
The campaign went viral on social media when one football fan tweeted a picture of a basket full of sanitary towels and tampons at Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium. “It’s important for football clubs to be inclusive and we hope this will encourage female fans to think they are being listened to,” McKinley added.