SEPP Blatter, the gaffe-prone Fifa president, once infamously remarked that women footballers should wear tighter shorts.

Earlier this month the BBC's John Inverdale made crass comments about 
Wimbledon women's champion Marion Bartoli's looks.

The UK Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, marched into the latter issue, asking the broadcaster if further action was to be taken against Inverdale, who has escaped with a grovelling apology and a warning that a repeat won't be tolerated. Unsurprisingly, Shona Robison, Scotland's Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, also had a view yesterday.

Speaking at the rebranding of the Scottish Women's Premier League at Hampden, Robison said: "On reflection he realises it wasn't the wisest thing to say. Thankfully, these kind of daft comments are getting fewer and fewer. Women, like men, compete in sport on their merits, and what they look like has nothing to do with it whatsoever."

The SWPL season resumes on Sunday after its summer break, and representatives of the teams listened appreciatively as Robison described her enthusiasm for women's football. She has been invited by Uefa to speak in Stockholm this weekend about the Scottish government's backing for the sport.

"In other countries in Europe women's football is absolutely huge," she pointed out. "That is what we want to aim towards. Girls' football is the fastest growing sport in Scotland, with 250,000 now playing through the Active Schools Network.

"When I was growing up there was no organised football for girls and it wasn't really encouraged. I have been asked by Uefa to be part of a panel discussion in Stockholm, when I will be outlining the initiatives taken by the Scottish government.

"Getting young girls active in sport and continuing that into adulthood is crucial because of the health benefits. There is something attractive about football for girls, otherwise we wouldn't be getting huge numbers playing." Despite the fast-rising increase in the numbers of girls and women competing in all sports, Robison acknowledges that there is still a mountain to climb in terms of recognition. In the UK, for example, just 5% of media space is devoted to women's sport, which also only gets a pathetic 1% of the commercial spend.

"I want to see the back pages of our newspapers give equal prominence to women's sports and women athletes," said Robison. "It happened during the Olympics and Paralympics but it was pretty temporary."

Yesterday's rebranding of the SWPL is a first step in a marketing campaign aimed at making women's football more attractive to the media and sponsors. It is part of a Uefa-supported project to raise the profile of women's leagues across Europe.

Despite a dedicated SWPL website also being launched yesterday, one of the major problems facing the league is the huge disparity in quality between the teams. Glasgow City are in a league of their own, on course for a seventh successive title, and haven't been beaten on the pitch for several seasons, although they forfeited a game due to an administrative error last year. Beneath them there is a huge gap between the best of the rest and the teams at the bottom. Embarrassingly one-sided scorelines do not attract either the media or sponsors.

Matters should improve from Sunday onwards when the league splits into the top six and the bottom six, and there is an attractive fixture between leaders City and fast-improving Rangers at Petershill Park. Nevertheless, it would seem an obvious step to restrict the top league to eight teams, instead of 12.

The players themselves seem to understand this, as there has been a significant movement of players – most of them gravitating to top six clubs – during the summer break.

The most high profile is Scotland's record goalscorer Julie Fleeting, who has switched from Kilwinning to Celtic. Second-placed Hibs, having seen outstanding midfield prospect Caroline Weir leave for Arsenal, have recruited highly-rated teenager Lucy Graham from Forfar Farmington.

Forfar have paid a high price for narrowly failing to make the top six, as they have also lost Scotland right-back Rachael Small to Aberdeen.