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Lewes women looking

Local beer, local pies, cramped turnstiles and proper old-fashioned terraces. Speak to anyone at the club, though, and you get a completely different impression. We're ahead of the game, even if people haven't heard of us," the club's general manager Maggie Murphy says.

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We're here because marks years since the FA banned women's football for the best part of half a century and Lewes FC claims to be the only club no longer living in the ban's shadow. Because it pays its male and female players equally.

People think that women's football is just growing now, but it's actually regrowth. The ban, on the grounds that football was "quite unsuitable for women", lasted from until the end of the s.

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Before it was put in place, in the wake of World War One, women's matches were drawing in crowds of over 50, fans. In the grand scheme of things, Lewes is still a pretty small club - albeit one where both the women's and men's teams have a "six-figure playing budget". But while the men's squad is way down in the seventh tier of English football, the women's team is in The Championship, the sport's second highest division.

Still, Sarah - like many of the players here - has come straight to training from her day job. She's adamant, along with everyone we speak to, that the equal pay system here could, and should, be put in place across the board.

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But less than ten minute's drive from The Dripping Pan is a huge reminder of how much would need to change for that to happen. Brighton FC are Lewes' intimidating neighbours, with a 30, capacity stadium and a men's squad worth hundreds of millions of pounds. In recent years some countries, including England, have promised to pay their national sides the same, but for clubs it's a different story.

And whether its through sponsorship, TV deals or prize money, the bulk of the cash in football still flows through the men's game. So the demand is there, but we don't have the exposure yet.

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As the players trickle away from the clubhouse for a late-night training session on a nearby Astroturf pitch, we grab captain Rhian Cleverly. They started much before us and then there's the ban, so we're at a disadvantage. Listen to Newsbeat live at and weekdays - or listen back here. The challenges female footballers still face. The man behind those fantasy football leaks How to exercise safely outdoors. Related Topics.

Lewes women looking

More on this story. Published 10 November Published 8 June

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