8-year-old girl is prevented from playing futsal tournament, and mother promotes mobilization


How to explain to a child that she cannot participate in a championship because she is a girl? That was the motivation that led a mother, music student Laís Matias, 31, to create a petition in an attempt to change the regulation of the state under-9 futsal championship in Espírito Santo, played by boys.

Laís is the mother of Laurinha, who turned eight on the 11th and has been playing futsal at Cruzeiro da Ilha de Santa Maria, in Vitória, since she was four. Currently, there are only men’s teams in the competition. And although the girl trained and competed in city championships with the boys, she was barred at the state level.

“She’s not alone. Girls are interested in playing indoor or outdoor soccer, but there’s a lack of encouragement. Everyone should have a choice. No boy has gone through this, but girls have to accept it and swallow hard? signed, I want to give voice to girls who love football”, says Laís.

The mother says that, after creating the petition, she began to receive messages of support from family members of girls who had gone through the same situation. At the time of publishing this text, there were almost 6,700 signatures. The goal is to reach 7,500 supporters by January 31 and present the document to entities linked to the sport.

Laís is not the first to fight for equal opportunities in football. There are other parents across Brazil campaigning for everyone, regardless of gender, to have the right to play.

She explains that the first challenge was to find a soccer school that would accept to train her daughter along with boys, at the age of four. The only school that opened its doors to Laurinha at the time was Cruzeiro da Ilha de Santa Maria, a team that the girl defends so far.

The music student reports Laurinha’s frustration when she received the news that, despite having helped the team move to the state stage, I could not represent him with the boys in the competition that took place in November of last year.

“When she turned seven, the coach called her up to the first team. But I had to say that she couldn’t participate because she was a girl. How do you explain that? She cried a lot, said she didn’t understand: ‘Am I alone? girl who wants to play?’.”

According to the mother, the child sleeps cuddled with the ball, walks with the medals won during his brief journey in the Cruzeiro da Ilha de Santa Maria mixed race around the house. “It’s her thing, it’s not forced. She follows the girls’ soccer games. She says she’s like Marta and Ant.”

For Renata Mendonça, co-founder of Dibradoras, a channel about women in sports and columnist for leaf, the ideal would be to have more girls to compete, a process that takes time.

“It’s sad to think that, in 2022, we’re talking about a story similar to what Marta lived in the 1990s. She could have given up, the best player of all time. And I’m convinced that many Martas got lost in the face of closed doors. How many talents were lost due to lack of incentive?”

“During this month of January, for example, we witnessed the São Paulo Junior Football Cup for men and the emergence of so many talents. Imagine if we had the same showcase in official grassroots competitions in women’s football. So, there is no such massive interest , we don’t have a televised Cup for the girls to see themselves in other players, dreaming about football since childhood”, says Renata.

In field soccer, Laura Pigatin, now 17 years old, from São Carlos (SP), also had to resort to a petition when she was 12 to participate in a state championship with under-13 boys. The manifesto had the support of 11,432 people.

“I played with boys since I was four. We won the municipal stage, but for two years, in the sub-11 and sub-13 stages, I was prevented from playing in the state stage because I was a girl”, she reports. It was then that Laura’s father, friends and family came together to leverage the petition.

Her father, federal civil servant Lauro Pigatin, 57, says he felt “a nothing, powerless” when he received the news that she couldn’t play. “She asked, ‘Can’t I go?’ What are you going to answer? Because you’re a girl.”

“You don’t form ten girls’ teams overnight. We have to fight for equality”, asks Lauro.

Her daughter’s case had repercussions on the internet, and she was allowed to play. But when that finally happened, the team lost a game and was disqualified.

“I didn’t even have time to participate. So, the balance is that, after a lot of struggle, they told my father that I could play, but the issue wasn’t just for me, it was for all the girls from then on. changing the regulation to mixed, which did not happen”, laments the young woman.

The Department of Sports of the State of São Paulo says that it organizes the state soccer championship with the under-17 female category, in which girls from 13 to 17 years old can participate.

“In all general competitions (Regional Games, Youth Open Games and Open Games), women’s football is also present. The regulations are divided between men’s and women’s teams, as in all competitions organized by state federations, by the CBF (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol) and by FIFA”, informs the note.

Currently, Laura Pigatin plays in the women’s base team of Ferroviária, from Araraquara. “I could have given up because of these situations, but the encouragement of my family, friends, the coach and the boys who played with me at that moment was very important”, he says.

“The support of my team at the time was essential for me to motivate myself even more in the fight, which was not just mine, it is a fight in favor of all girls. We need to defend our rights, because a woman’s place is where she wants to be. We cannot passively accept no”, concludes Laura.

Federation says it cannot ‘break the rule’

The president of the Espírito Santense Indoor Football Federation, Arnaud Cordeiro, says that, despite the request, there will be no change in the statute of the state competition. “It’s something that depends on a decision by the Club Assembly. It’s not up to us, it’s from the top down.”

Cordeiro says that the change would set a precedent for categories in the future, even adults, to want the same. “As much as I want to encourage them, I can’t break the rule and because of a girl harming 60 boys in a possible disqualification for a national dispute, for example, because we broke the rule”, says Cordeiro.

The CBFS (Brazilian Futsal Confederation) informs, in a note, that only national championships are its responsibility. According to the entity, the state federations are responsible for the organization and regulation of their championships, and the CBFS does not have any interference over them.

The limitations are still clear for Martas, Lauras and Laurinhas.

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