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The coach of England’s World Cup team recently described the wives and girlfriends of footballers as “a virus.” He also declared his intentions to only allow them visitation with players once a week for the duration of their time in South Africa. This was, in part, a reaction to the activities of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when several prominent wives and girlfriends of English players stayed near the team cap in the spa town of Baden Baden, and then proceeded to go on widely publicized shopping, restaurant, and clubbing trips around
town, in effect overshadowing the performance of England’s athletes during the World Cup. 

 The media covered their petty arguments and competitions with more zeal than they offered to their male counterparts actually taking part in the tournament. The WAGs flaunted their wealth and displayed their unmatched talent for drinking, partying, and shopping. They downed champagne in excess and danced on tables in nightclubs. Ecuador’s Alex Aguinaga famously proclaimed, “The English wives and girlfriends are causing a circus.” These three-ring-style antics were more than a mere sideshow, however.

The distraction caused utter embarrassment for their partners, and for English soccer as a whole. When England shockingly lost in the quarterfinals, the antics of the WAGs, along with the paparazzi they attracted, were widely blamed. Following the 2006 World Cup, the WAGs were banned from attending future tournaments.

In fact, recent drama with regards to two English footballers, Wayne Bridge and John Terry, further highlights the unnecessary conflict and distraction caused by these desperate women. As a result of a four-month fling between Terry, who is married with twins, and Vanessa Perroncel, a French underwear model who is Bridge’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, Terry was subsequently stripped of the England captaincy and Bridge withdrew his name from the World Cup squad. WAGs are widely being accused of corrupting team chemistry.

The most frustrating aspect is that the attention paid to WAG activities seems to overshadow their well-deserving partners, who have worked long and hard to become the elite athletes of their sport. WAGs live wild celebrity lifestyles and throw their money around town, but they will not get within ten feet of a ball during the World Cup. These women, who simply relish in the spoils of their husbands’ and boyfriends’ efforts, cause them serious embarrassment, distract them from their game, and make them tabloid fodder.
Following the women’s liberation movement, you would think women happily identifying themselves by the men they married was a thing of the past.
Footballers Wives - The Complete First Season

However, this is not the case for women desperate to land themselves a footballer. These wives and girlfriends openly embrace their WAG identity, and happily exploit it to get on TV, or otherwise find fame. They appear on reality television shows, go on game shows, and become television presenters. In England, there was even a program called “WAGs Boutique” wherein, WAGs were divided into two teams that set up rival fashion boutiques next to each other. The women then fought and argued, ultimately leading to reality and tabloid popularity. Additionally, Carly Cole, the wife of Joe Cole, starred in “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.” In a special called “Come Dine With Me”, you spend time in the homes of WAGs. Other miscellaneous programming exploiting the frightfully meaningless lives of WAGs includes “Wags Kids” and “World Cup Dreams.”

The Footballer's WifeFootballers Wives - The Complete Third Season
And when sexual scandals arise with regard to their significant others, they continuously, and suspiciously, choose to ignore them. In general, normal women would not take their husbands’ infidelities with such ease. After all, Coleen Rooney’s husband, the great Wayne Rooney, had a notorious liaison with a stripper known as “The Auld Slapper.” Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand cheated on his wife, Rebecca Ellison, with a flight attendant, and a model at his stag (bachelor) party. And of course, she is still around. Toni Poole, wife of the aforementioned John Terry, forgave her husband after his recent affair with a teammate’s girlfriend. With every WAG’s willful acceptance of these indiscretions, their unions begin to sound more like business relationships than romantic ones.

While “gold diggers” have existed in some form or another for centuries, the continued popularity of the WAG seems to make this practice more socially acceptable. And the more attention paid to them by the media and popular culture at large, the more we legitimize them, their practices, and their lifestyles.


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