As we all know, the vast majority of football is competed by clubs representing specific geographical areas, but a developing exception to this tradition is the growth in workplace based teams. One such example of this is the Royal Air Force Football Association Women.
The RAFFAW compete in the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) sponsored, Ladies Inter-Service Championships. Predominately, the RAFFAW compete against the other teams in the Ministry of Defence services, the Army Women and the Royal Navy Women.
There is an abundance of quality in the RAF team and they certainly hold no fear of playing against clubs from the hierarchy of female football. They have twice played Tottenham Hotspur Ladies in the last year, with the most recent game in May 2004 being held at White Hart Lane stadium (official ground for Tottenham’s male team).
There is an annual Royal Air Force Football Association Women’s 8 a side tournament for players to enjoy, with the 2003 event, held at the Uxbridge base, attracting a record number of 13 teams and involved 130 individuals in total.
Teams start playing in a group phase set up, before the best performers eventually qualify proceeding to the knock-out stage of the tournament. It is competed by teams representing various units from throughout the RAF and the 2003 champions were the CIS (Careers Information Service) ladies team.
In what is a testimony to the great talents of women footballers in the Services, Brent Hills (England Ladies Assistant Manager) was present to watch the RAF Ladies first Inter-Service Championships home match of the season against the Army Women.
The RAF women are largely funded by grants from the Football Association and central contributions from the RAF service itself.
Where Do They Play?
RAF Ladies, who play in the colours claret and blue, can be seen playing their home games at RAF Uxbridge in Middlesex.
For anybody interested in learning more about the RAF ladies football team, or perhaps any women’s clubs who fancy playing a different opposition, then visit the official RAF Football Association web site at www.raffa.demon.co.uk.