Women’s football is very much on the up – and referee Vikki Allan is aiming to take their game to a whole new height.
Vikki jets out today to join players and refs from all over the world as they bid to play on a pitch built just below the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
It they succeed they will break the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude football match ever played.
But if scaling the 19,340 foot peak, the highest in Africa, won’t be gruelling enough, 24-year-old Vikki, from the Capital, and her companions will have to haul goalposts and nets with them to ensure the 90-minute game, pencilled in for June 24, meets the criteria to be declared a record.
The Equal Playing Field initiative was formally launch on International Women’s Day, joining the movement to increase opportunity, equality and respect for women seeking to play or work in sport and raise the profile of inspirational female sporting role models in the media.
Vikki, a FIFA assistant referee who regularly takes charge of Women’s Premier League games in Scotland and only recently “ran the line” at a World Cup qualifying tournament in Albania, said: “We’re looking for equality between men and women in sport.”
Vikki, a youth ambassador for refereeing on the SFA Youth Congress, was only asked a fortnight ago if she’d be interested in taking part.
Since then life has proved hectic as she’s pounded her way up and down the Pentland Hills with her dad Crawford who has just hung up his whistle as a Category One referee.
She said: “I’d been speaking to the SFA’s refereeing department about diversity, telling them I’d be happy to get involved in anything and the next day they called and said they had this.
“First thing was to get my employers, Standard Life Investments, to give me some time off and I’ve been going up the Pentlands with a weighted backpack and my dad, who goes running in the Pentlands, took me up some really steep bits.
However, Vikki admitted that as much training as she can cram in, it’s unlikely to fully prepare her for the test ahead.
She said: “Altitude sickness can be a problem just walking never mind playing a full game of football, so it’s going to be tough but that’s the point – that we can have the same opportunities in women’s sport.”