Saturday, November 27

Players urge FIFA to change “deeply discriminatory” women’s futsal policy | Indoor football

The world’s leading female futsal players have called on FIFA to end its “deeply discriminatory” approach to women’s football with the launch of a World Cup to achieve parity with the FIFA-approved men’s game of futsal. .

In a letter sent to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, seen by The Guardian, the players demand an end to their “marginalization” and urge the governing body to make a women’s event a priority amid the growing popularity of futsal. . sport practiced worldwide by approximately 60 million people.

Citing “deep concern” about the sport’s “public mistreatment and neglect”, the letter calls FIFA’s refusal to sanction a women’s tournament “deeply discriminatory” and says it “violates gender equality.”

The request comes on the weekend of the ninth edition of the men’s futsal World Cup that kicks off in Lithuania, with 2016 champion Argentina, five-time champion Brazil and two-time champion Spain among the favorites.

“We are being discriminated against,” said Natalia Orive, a Spanish first division player and president of the Spanish Association of Women’s Futsal. “That is the key. I don’t want to use the word discrimination to be a victim. It is because it is reality.

“It’s very unfair,” he told The Guardian Orive, who wrote the letter. “It’s called outcast [marginalised] in Spain. Why is it happening? They have no answer. But it also goes against its own ethical governance rules and principles. On [the Fifa strategy for women’s football] 2018, they spoke of equality, being inclusive, with men and women not different. But they forget about futsal. Without explanation “.

The first FIFA Men’s Futsal World Cup took place in 1989. Women’s football has grown dramatically in the last decade, with Brazil, Spain, Italy and Iran leading the way to professionalism.

Spain's Vanessa Sotelo and Russia's Dina Danilova in action during the 2019 Women's Eurocup
Spain’s Vanessa Sotelo (left) and Russia’s Dina Danilova in action during the Women’s Futsal Euro 2019. Photography: Octavio Passos / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Uefa introduced a euro for women in 2019, won by spain, one year after the female and male youth futsal replaced soccer for the first time at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

Only 55 of the 211 FIFA member countries have a women’s national team, compared to roughly two-thirds (140) who have a men’s team. In England, the FA failed to deliver on its promise to create an England women’s team and eliminated its men’s team to cut costs at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

FIFA pledged to launch a “women’s futsal competition” as part of its first strategy for women’s football in 2018.

Among the main futsal players who support the campaign on social networks that accompanies the request to FIFA is Amandinha, the Brazilian six times best player in the world, The winning Spanish captain of Eurocup 2019, Anita Luján, the two-time winner of the AFC women’s championship of Iran Fereshte Karimi and the goalkeeper of Portugal and Benfica Ana Catarina.

Karimi of Iran, the featured player of the tournament in Iran’s historic 2015 AFC title win, told The Guardian that the lack of a women’s world cup was “FIFA’s biggest weakness,” adding: ” I hope that this gender discrimination in futsal will disappear soon and we women in futsal will achieve our dream ”.

A FIFA spokesperson said it was examining “the landscape of women’s football competitions, which cover all disciplines, including futsal,” adding: “The priority is to ensure that these new competitions will provide an important platform, not just to retain female participation, but also more opportunities for women and girls to play soccer The introduction of any new competitions should reflect the overall development landscape.

“A recent example of this approach and the steps that FIFA is taking specifically in developing futsal competitions include the introduction of futsal into the 2018 Youth Olympic Games program, in which an equal number participated. of male and female teams “.

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For Orive, futsal is very beneficial for girls and women because “it is easier for five players to play than 11” and is known for its potential for developing skills, whether the players stick to futsal or bring your skills to outdoor play. But the responsibility for encouraging more nations to promote participation in the women’s indoor game lay squarely with FIFA, she said.

With the clamor for the inclusion of futsal in the full Olympic Games growing since Tokyo 2021, Orive sees a great opportunity for women’s football.

“We are talking about Olympic futsal now,” he said. “But to get there, we first need a Women’s Futsal World Cup.”

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