South America is still a city for women’s football

Insomnia is about to plague soccer fans in the Americas as the national teams prepare for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia (more than 15 hours away from Colombia). The USA team arrives at this ninth edition of the tournament as the favourites, while in Latin America the situation for teams is completely different.

Countries from the northern hemisphere have won the trophy in the past eight editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Defending champions USA have won the tournament four timesGermany won twice. But the land of Pele, Messi and Suarez in South America has hardly appeared definitively.

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Brazil, although there are some of the most famous players in the world, such as Marta Vieira da Silva, six-time FIFA Player of the YearAnd, like the record-breaking Miraildes Maciel Mota, known as Formiga, it reached the final only once, in 2007, where it finished second.

Why is there such disparity in a region with a universally recognized passion for football? Journalist and researcher Lou Castro asserts that there are ancient gender structures rooted in women’s sports institutions in the region. “This situation is deeper in football and is clearly present in our sporting entities,” he said. Interest in women’s teams is undoubtedly growing, but the audience and financing gap between men’s and women’s football remains significant.

Similarly, women’s teams in Latin America are not held in the same public esteem as they are in the Northern Hemisphere. For example, President Joe Biden himself has been approached to offer Team USA for this year’s tournamentAnd other stars like Taylor Swift.

For nearly 40 years, the US women’s soccer team has proven that it is a true champion. For lifting awards and fighting for gender equality, these women have been an inspiration to all Americans of all ages,” were President Biden’s words in the team’s announcement.

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late recognition

The first women’s Copa Libertadores tournament was held in 2009, five decades after the first tournament for men’s players. and heThe South American competition attracts a fraction of the audience and media attention that the women’s European competitions in the UEFA Women’s Champions League receive..

In Argentina, the country that currently holds the men’s world title, the women’s team has never made it past the group stage in both the World Cup and previous Olympic Games. “Not surprising given the historic disappearance of women’s footballSociologist Mariana Ibarra said:

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In Brazil, such as eIn Germany and England, where the national federations banned women’s sport until 1970, women’s football was restricted by law until 1979.. In 1941, then-President Getúlio Vargas signed a decree forbidding Brazilian women to play soccer in order to preserve their “motherly nature”. Although the sport was not banned in Argentina, players were not considered professional athletes until the 1990s.

“Football was not seen as a sport for women,” Ibarra added. For Colombian players, being able to play professionally is also a very recent change.. “The professionalization of women’s football came after FIFA’s support for this sport,” said historian Gabriela Ardilla Biela. To this day, Colombian players do not have the opportunity to play professionally in their country, despite pressure from sports entities.

For example, in 2019, CONMEBOL, CONMEBOL, and FIFA created under a rule that men’s teams can only participate in international competitions if a club invests in professional women’s teams.

They play in spite of everything

The three South American nations that qualified for the 2023 World Cup, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, can boast of their pioneering clubs that paved the way for women’s football, such as Argentina’s UAI Urquiza, a partnership between a private university and the Buenos Aires railway workers’ club founded in 1950.

The club was indirectly responsible for the professionalization of women’s football in that country. Male athletes achieved recognition as professional athletes after the 1931 strike, but L.JWomen had to wait another 87 years.

After UAI Urquiza player Macarena Sánchez sued the club in 2019, the Argentine Football Players Association recognized her as a factor, paving the way for Argentine athletes.

Mariana Ibarra emphasized that as feminist groups became stronger in Argentina, support for the sport began to grow as well. “Many of the players heading into the 2023 World Cup are the protagonists of this transformative moment that cuts across the boardIncluding sports and politics, “said the expert.

For its part, in Brazil, the tournament created and sponsored in 2013 has given impetus to the sport. However, ten years later, conditions are no longer ideal.

This is evidenced by several facts. A few weeks before Swedish coach Pia Sundag announced the formation of the Brazilian national team for 2023, a team from Rondonia, Real Arikimis, refused to play because its salaries had not been paid for two months. Meanwhile, Ceará Sporting played a fully amateur team competition, with players as young as 14 on the field. The club released most of its professional players to save money and help the men’s team avoid relegation.. If this is the reality of the largest and richest country that will represent the region in the World Cup, what can we expect for the region on the world stage?

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Meanwhile, it isThe 2019 Women’s World Cup, which was held in France, was watched more than twice as much in Brazil, reaches 108 million viewers, so the organizers of the event are optimistic about the year 2023, despite the time difference. As star player Formiga said in an interview, women’s football is getting more and more attention from the public. “We’ve come a long way. Now we just need clubs to embrace the sport.”

Matias Pinto *

america quarter

Sao Paulo

Historian and journalist covering the intersection between football and politics in Latin America.

(Continue reading: “Homophobia as State Policy: The Case of Uganda”)

All teams have their claims by:

Antoine Mignan – Agence France-Presse – Sydney

The Women’s World Cup sits at the crossroads of demands that shake the discipline, between player revolts and unequal treatment, spreading fear of a widening gulf that separates football’s powerhouses from the rest. On both sides of the coin, the two mastodons of Europe and North America are largeemployees And its advanced technologies and rich unions.On the other hand, there are the teams that lag behind in terms of resources, and that get nothing

who are fighting to make a name for themselves and are even asking for donations to fund their competitions. It is one of the ironies of this World Cup, which Can mark before and after in women’s soccer

And take it to another dimension. FIFA’s announcement, which tripled the prize pool for the World Cup compared to the 2019 edition in France, continues to resonate, bringing the prize pool to a historic total of US$152 million, six times what was earmarked for the 2015 World Cup in Canada.Each football player selected for this event will receive a minimum of $30,000 USD

a figure that could rise to $270,000 for each of the 23 world champions.

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Jamaican team “I’m very proud to be part of this change. I’ve seen women’s football go from zero to one hundred. But I think it’s only the first step, it’s still a long way to go compared to men’s. I hope we can build on that,” said the Australian lawyer. Ellie Carpenter

About this unprecedented development of women’s football. Despite this message of hope, however, winds of rebellion are blowing within the women’s teamsDemand more rights, consideration and fairness

We have never felt it before, less than on the eve of the World Cup. The simple example of Jamaica is revealing. The Reggae Girls are playing their second cup in a row, but just a few days before the start, The players issued a statement denouncing the “extreme chaos”.

from their national team and asked for help after several matches were abandoned in recent months for logistical reasons. The mother of Havana Solon, a Jamaican midfielder, launched an online fundraiser to cover the team’s accommodation costs, raising nearly $50,000 in mid-July.

(Also: that’s impressive! The noble gesture of the Japanese after their victory over Zambia in the World Cup) The Nigerian national team is also on the brink of crisis: coach Randy Waldrum has widely criticized the conditions for preparing for the tournament. in the podcastSounding in football

He regrets, above all, the union’s cancellation of the training focus. He indicated that his players had to boycott training in the middle of the 2022 African Cup to pay their installments.South Africa also decided to boycott their preliminary match against Botswana on 2 July.

After signing contracts, she did not abide by the agreements, according to the players. “It’s exasperating,” said the symbolic player in this fight for equality, American Megan Rapinoe, when asked recently about these issues.“It doesn’t have to be like that. But I think it gets better every time. There are now more ways these teams can count on it.”

. The demands are not limited to countries with more modest budgets.Canadians threatened a strike to obtain more resources

Several French women have withdrawn from the national team to press for the sacking of their coach, Corinne Diachy. Spain appears in the World Cup without dozens of “rebels” who have always criticized coach Jorge Vilda’s methods. Although in his case, these complaints were not dealt with.

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