23/02/2015
Campaign started to demand an Official Women's World Cup

Social Media being utilised to put pressure on FIFA to act...
By Doug Reed @DougReedFutsal

A social media campaign has been established to put pressure on FIFA, the world governing body for futsal, to create an official women's Futsal World Cup. Supporters of the initiative are sharing tweets of photos and videos of women's futsal alongside the hashtag #WomenPlayFutsalFIFA.

The aim of the movement is for FIFA to create an official world championship for women to replace the current unofficial version that has been hosted annually in various countries and won by Brazil on every occasion since it started in 2010. Without the organisational support and financial backing of a governing body, the event has faced difficulties and setbacks.

In the last edition in 2014 Russia pulled out as hosts and reigning champions Brazil announced, due to funding issues, they wouldn't participate as most the expenses are borne by the competing nations. Fortunately, at the last minute, Costa Rica stepped in to host the event and the Brazilian players themselves managed to raise enough funds to attend.

Inequality

The first official men's FIFA Futsal World Cup was in 1989 in the Netherlands but over 25 years later there is still no sign from FIFA of the development of a women's equivalent. Since 1991 there has been parity in football with a women's edition but there is no explanation as to why this is not the case in futsal. The lack of women's competition has also being cited as one of the reasons futsal is not an Olympic Sport.

On a continental level the situation for international women's championships is mixed. CONEMBOL (South America) has had a women's national team championship since 2005 held every two years though it hasn't taken place since 2011. The AFC (Asia), one of the most progressive governing bodies for futsal, will hold their first continental championship for women in September this year. The OFC (Oceania), CONCACAF (Central & North America) and UEFA (Europe) all hold men's futsal championships but there are no equivalent events for women.

The Campaign

The recent social media campaign was started in January by Spain's AJFSF (Association for Women Futsal Players) after discussions between the teams at the last world championship to try to gain support with the mandate that FIFA rectify the situation.

The idea is for the futsal community to publish a photo or video of women's futsal with the hashtag #WomenPlayFutsalFIFA on social media as well as retweeting these posts to increase awareness of the situation and to send FIFA a message of discontent with the situation.

The AJFSF have stipulated certain dates when all the supporters of the initiative should do this with last being the 12th February 2015. On this date the hashtag became a trending topic, meaning it was one of the most talked about subjects on Twitter during that day. It has received international support and has continued to be promoted on social media sites.

"It is very said that we have to reach this point of having to use social media, record videos and not stop retweeting so that FIFA realises that women's futsal exists as well, THAT WE PLAY TOO." Wrote Spanish sports journalist and ex-player Alba Ada Lameiras on her blog.

She added "We want that women's futsal competitions are official, like the men's. Because EQUALITY is a RIGHT if someone had't realised."

The fight for an official FIFA Women's Futsal World Cup will continue and for future initiatives they will try to mobilise more support to strengthen their influence. In 2015 women still fail to have equality in the world of elite futsal but the hope is that this initiative will help remedy this discrimination. It is not a fight only for women but for the sport of futsal.

#WomenPlayFutsalFIFA

Note: The author, Doug Reed, wrote an opinion piece on this situation at his blog DougReedFutsal.com.










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