Hard : A level playing field
Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.
Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase a level playing field.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
Rich: Hello my name's Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.
Jack: Hi there! I'm Jack. We're here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.
Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
Jack: This episode is hard so we're looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.
Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: a level playing field.
Jack: This is a strange phrase. Aren't all football pitches level?
Rich: It's funny that you say that but yes and no. I don't think you'll find a football pitch that's not flat in the Premier League - not these days.
Jack: In the past?
Rich: Maybe not in the Premier League but I remember playing at school and in the first half we'd be playing downhill and in the second going uphill.
Jack: That doesn't sound very fair.
Rich: No, but it made me feel like Ryan Giggs running down the wing in the first half!
Jack: And I bet the goalkeeper could score. A couple of bounces and it's in the net.
Rich: Exactly. The second half was more difficult though. It wasn't just school football either - one of the biggest FA Cup shocks was when a little amateur team called Yeovil Town beat Sunderland who, at the time, were one of the biggest teams in England.
Jack: And this team didn't have a level playing field?
Rich: No, it had a massive slope - it was like playing on a hill.
Jack: That doesn't sound very fair!
Rich: So there are examples of teams playing on pitches that are not level but the expression a level playing field is used much more outside of football.
Jack: The expression is used to describe a situation where everyone has the same opportunities and is fair to everyone.
Rich: If one team has to play kicking uphill this is not fair - it's not a level playing field.
Jack: The phrase is used as an idiom to describe a situation that is fair to everyone. It might be used in business. Listen to this example:
Rich: If a government offers lower taxes to companies from one country and not others it's more difficult to enter that market as it's not a level playing field.
Jack: It might be used to talk about rights. Listen to this example:
Rich: Why are there more men in positions of power? Women are still not given the same opportunities as men at work - it's not a level playing field.
Jack: And in politics. Listen to this example:
Rich: The European Union have spoken about a level playing field when it comes to a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK. They want open and fair competition.
Jack: There is the final whistle!
Rich: We'll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
- Have you ever felt that you were in an unfair competition?
- Can you think of any situations in your country where the phrase a level playing field could be used?
Write your answers in the comments section below.