Equals: off and on pitch
For more than 20 years Mondiali Antirazzisti have been promoting integration and fighting disparity in sports. In the last few years, increasing attention has been paid also to the issue of gender equality in sports. Despite the efforts, however, the attendance of women in the football tournament – the core event of the festival – is still very low. Even though the number of teams made up of both men and women is slowly increasing, men represent the vast majority of the players, while the few female-only teams tend to confine themselves to the smaller, women-only competition.
To adjust this imbalance, the proposal has been made to discontinue the female tournament usually played on Saturday afternoon, in order to uproot the habit of separating genders on the pitch and to promote the presence of female players in the major tournament. The feeling is that in an open-minded, welcoming and non-competitive environment such as that of Mondiali Antirazzisti a separate tournament is no longer needed. The female presence certainly needs to be highlighted, but strengthening the perception of a fundamental equality between male and non-male players is the priority now: and the only means available to reach this goal is to have all teams compete in the same tournament.
Against gender-based discrimination
In addition to this, and just as important, the mixed tournament is a precious opportunity of inclusion for those trans players who may in other contexts experience a conflict between their self-perceived gender identity and the assigned-at-birth-gender category they are required to fit in when practising sports, and also of athletes who identify as non-binary.
It is now time for every individual to step on the field together, no matter what their gender is, and to share their passion, skills, ideas.
Mixing the teams together at Mondiali Antirazzisti does not mean, however, underestimating the divide which still exists in football between men and women, or the long – standing tradition of discrimination based on gender expression and sexual orientation in sports and society at large. In most football clubs and associations, key roles are still a thing for men only, and there are places in the world where women still fight for their right to play.
It is exactly because of these bigger problems that GoALL was founded.
GoALL means to gather together teams from a variety of backgrounds, both Italian and international, in order to create the opportunity for new acquaintances and discussion for people who are actively involved in using football as a tool to address discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation in society. The international breadth of the project ensures that a real diversity of experiences can be shared, and is therefore vital for the project to be successful. Besides taking part in the mixed tournament, teams will have the opportunity to present themselves and their activities to the public, raising awareness for their cause, and being able to share knowledge with each other.
With the help of sponsors and supporters it will be possible to cover, at least in part, financial obstacles for the players, e.g. by contributing to trave, living and lodging costs.
Team and inspiration
GoALL is a project of Brigata della Pace (“Brigade of Peace”), an amateur female football team based in Bologna who has been proudly part of Mondiali Antirazzisti for the past 8 years – and has always played in the mixed tournament.
The main source of inspiration for GoALL was the Discover Football Festival, a cultural sporting event held in Berlin as part of the activities of the Discover Football Network, with the support of institutional and private partners. Its aim is to promote the development of women’s football and to fight discrimination through the practice of football. In August 2016 we had the pleasure of taking part in the latest edition of the festival, and this opportunity kindled our resolution to start something inspired by our experience.
(translation by Ellie Robinson)