LONDON: England’s most famous soccer anthem has been rewritten for female players ahead of the women’s World Cup next month to support the team and to try to attract more women to the sport.
“Three Lions” becomes “Three Lionesses” in the revamped tune which replaces a roll-call of iconic male players with stars of the England women’s team including England captain Steph Houghton and mid-fielders Jade Moore and Jordan Nobbs.
“We play football because of the love of it, whether we are male or female,” Nobbs told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It’s a very exciting time for the women’s game right now,” said Nobbs, although a knee injury will keep her out of the women’s World Cup that kicks off in Paris on June 7 with the reigning champions, the United States, favourites to win.
The original 1996 anthem, known as “Football’s Coming Home”, is a perennial favourite with England fans despite lamenting the fact England has lost so often. It hit the charts against last year when England made – and lost – the World Cup semi-final.
The new version tackles sexist attitudes towards women’s soccer, replacing lyrics with the lines: “That we don’t have the skill in their eyes, well, we’re tired of the lies”.
Women’s soccer is gaining in popularity – after being banned from the grounds of Football Association (FA) clubs for 50 years until 1971 – but it still lacks the widespread popularity and money afforded to the men’s game.
The song’s original lyricists, comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, gave permission for “The Lions” to be reworked by a team from the England women’s team sponsor Lucozade Sport.
“It’s great to see some of the prejudices and stereotypes around girls playing football dispelled and challenged,” said Kate Nicholson from the British organisation Women in Sport.
“More and more girls and women are being inspired to take up the sport thanks to this increased visibility and accessibility.”