Marta calls for gender equality and more opportunities for women in football12 January 2015

Eleven-timesFIFAWomen’sWorldPlayeroftheYear nominee,MartaVieiradaSilvaisworldlyrecognisedforbeingatalentedfootballer.Buttheworkofthe28year-oldBrazilian-bornplayerinpromotingwomen’sfootballandraisingawarenessofhumanrightsthroughthesporthasturnedherintoaleadingfigureontheissue.

Ahead of the FIFA Golden Ball 2015 ceremony, to be held today in Zurich, Switzerland, the Tyresö FF and Brazil women’s national team forward spoke to the Brazilian website ‘Lance!Net‘ about women’s football, gender equality and the recognition of the sport.

On her nomination for a Golden Ball, the player said: “We are always very happy to be there, because it shows the work that we, female players, develop to make the sport known and recognised. Being there proves that we are good in what we do, which is playing football.

“This is a sport that to some is very masculine, but honestly gender does not have any influence. It is a matter of talent and we have that. Having the goal of Steph Roche running for the Puskas award [the most beautiful goal of the year] represents another tabu that we are breaking.”

Raising the profile of women’s football
In 2013, a football initiative led by players was founded in Brazil to changed the face of the game on issues including financial fair play and stadium attendance. A year after its creation, Marta called on Bom Senso FC (in English, Good Sense FC) to play an active role in raising the profile of women’s football in the country.

“What I said before is that it would be great if they [Bom Senso FC] included women’s football in their working plan, because what we want is to help stabilise the women’s game and make it grow. But I haven’t seen any change in this sense.” said Marta.

During the 2014 World Cup, Marta was the ambassador of a programme that aimed to shed a light on women’s football and raise awareness of women’s rights through the sport.

In November 2014, the FIFA five times Player of the Year, helped launch a campaign to empower women through football and tackle gender-based violence in Brazil.

“Women and girls must have the same access to education, jobs, health care and opportunities. We need to raise awareness of gender equality. To empower women is to empower the humanity.” said the player in July 2014 as part of the UN Women campaign Beijing +20.

‘There is a need to do structure women’s football in Brazil’
Criticising the structure of the game in her native country, Brazil, the player blamed the Federation (CBF) and the Brazilian sporting authorities for the lack of opportunities given to female players.

“There is a need to do structure women’s football in Brazil. Here we keep testing things. We tested the Paulista Championship, then the Brazilian Cup, and the National League and we do this for two, three months. It does not work and next year no one cares.

“We need to analyse women’s football carefully and chose the best option. What we can do is to have well planned league that gives women a chance to develop a career in football.” Marta added.

Accessing the three years she played in the US, the 28 year-old said: “In the US I was able to understand why the main players never leave the country. They get support from their club and local confederations to stay.

“It is very different from what happens in Brazil. In the US, female players also get support from their universities, they study and play at the same time. Both university leagues and semi-professional leagues are very strong and their national team benefits a lot from that.”

The 2015 World Cup
In 2015, the CBF is looking put into practice a plan that will allow female players playing in Brazil to train on a regular basis with the national team.

The player believes the new measure may help boost the competitiveness of the women’s national team and the game across the country.

“I hope the idea works and we can get good results from it at the World Cup and the Olympics.” Marta said, adding that, in the end, it will come down to the new CBF executive to ensure the idea works.

“I hope they [CBF] look after the women’s national team. Every time I had an opportunity to speak with them, they seemed interested in helping boost the popularity of women’s football and make it grow. I hope we can see that happen.”

© Maja Suslin, Creative Commons

© Maja Suslin, Creative Commons