Who is Kent man Arthur Henry Hobbs and why is he called the 'father of women's football'?

Tap to watch a video report on Arthur Henry Hobbs as his contribution to female football is remembered

Arthur Henry Hobbs was a pioneering force in women's football championing equality in the sport when officials says female involvement would be breaking the law.

The carpenter from Deal in Kent started a competitive tournament with eight teams in 1967 and went on to lead the Ladies Football Association of Great Britain.

It put pressure on the FA with a 50-year ban ending in 1970 allowing women to play on official pitches in the years which followed.

Hobbs captained spirit and determination to deliver change is being recognised this weekend with a special tournament taking place in his honour.

Arthur's daughter Jill will play an important role at the tournament this weekend Credit:

Jill Martin will blow a whistle in honour of her late father at the start of the competition on Saturday as 270 under-16s take to the pitch,

"He was working at Sandwich technical school and in the break time he saw lots of lovely young girls kicking a football around and having a great time and enjoying it.

"And he thought to himself, 'Why on earth are women not playing football?' Well, it was no stopping my dad after that.

"Women were banned for 50 years from playing this beautiful game and at long last my dad has been recognised and rightly so.

"We should know the history. We should know about the man who allowed women to play this fantastic, beautiful game that the whole world enjoys.

"Dad was very kind, very loving, very generous, but also very determined. Once he had a a thought in his head or especially if something wasn't right or didn't feel right he would fight to the very, very end.

"I'm blowing the whistle and kicking the ball and it's just magical that I'm here for him."

Mayor of Deal Oliver Richardson said, "Arthur Hobbs was a Deal man. And he fought against, not just oppression, but he fought against the establishment too, to push forward for women's football.

"And he set up the Women's Football Association. And so we should be proud of this heritage and proud that Deal were at the forefront back in the day."

Alessia Russo was one of the Lionesses to win the European Championships last summer. Credit: PA Images

Women's football has a very long tradition in England with the game peaking around the time of the First World War, when games attracted thousands of spectators.

However, in 1921, the Football Association banned women from playing on football league grounds because it was 'unsuitable'.

In recent years, the game's benefitted from global growth, Maidstone's Alessia Russo was part of England's Euro winning squad last year and the World Cup is starting soon but there is more to do.

It's hoped the tournament in Hobbs' honour will encourage more young women into the sport,

Deal Town Rangers coach and tournament organiser Anthony Smythe said,

"It's not all about winning. it's about just getting the kids having a kickabout and having fun.

"And that's what we do the tournament for is just getting local clubs here and having a great time where you can get lots of people down to see what we do."

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