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Football4Good Magazine March 2020

Football’s enduring ‘bootprint’: ensuring a legacy worth celebrating

Our Football4Good March 2020 Issue is available now. Click here to read the magazine in full. 

 

A little more than a decade ago, shortly before Amanda Sampedro made her debut with Atlético de Madrid, it was hard for her to picture herself ever scoring in the Vicente Calderón.

Over the years, she had watched her idols countless times from the terrace where her family have season tickets.

Yet, having never seen a woman set foot on the hallowed turf, she struggled to imagine one day doing it herself.

Fast-forward a decade; she is the current captain of Atlético de Madrid, with more than 50 caps for Spain, three league titles and one Copa da la Reina under her belt.

When we asked her about what football might look like a decade from now, she pictured a 2030 World Cup gathering both male and female teams together, playing in parallel, and sharing the spoils of joint interest.

During our chat with Amanda, we discussed the current historical moment women’s football is experiencing, the growing global relevance and off-the-pitch victories like in Sampedro’s Spain, where the first-ever collective agreement on pay and working conditions has been reached.

Things are changing.

However, in parallel, the U.S. Soccer Federation argues in the lawsuit filed in March 2019 by the Women’s Team for equal pay that: “the job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player.” Those words came two days after International Women’s Day and only a few months after the U.S. National Team won its fourth World Cup – garnering 22% more stateside viewership than the Men’s World Cup along the way.

There is still a long way to go. But, as Amanda would say, ‘there is a path’.

Many of the stories we share across our channels capture the value of football as a tool to promote gender equality, instigating values of inclusion and respect.

However, both in the worlds of professional and grassroots football, there remains an ever-presence of structural gender inequality within a number of layers.

From the lack of support of girls’ participation in football – due to lack of access or societal constraints – to the lack of female leadership opportunities, lack of training opportunities or lack of exposure in mainstream media. How set, then, is football to actually lead this fight?

As a sport, it holds great potential to teach lessons of equality, inclusion, respect and team play – all essential universal values across the Global Goals, understanding them as the best picture we have of what success could look like.

As a social phenomenon, with its reach, football can be a powerful call to action to inspire people to engage with their community, behave in a more responsible way with our planet or fight for social justice.

It does not matter in what area, it is important to pick your fight and be part of making the world a more sustainable and fair place for future generations.

Contribution – as an individual or as a collective – is another essential factor that can drive our society forward.

So beyond Gender Equality – or Global Goal 5 if we talk about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – football has much to offer.

If we are serious about maximising football’s contribution to the Global Goals, we may also want to take a closer look into what structural and behavioural changes should be installed in the world of football, to ensure that the game’s enduring legacy or bootprint is one to celebrate.

In this issue, we wanted to share some of the conversations we have had since the beginning of the year on initiatives that are leading change within both professional and grassroots football, enabling the game to play a greater contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

From reducing professional football’s carbon footprint, to increasing girls’ participation and proportion of female coaches in community programmes, to creating a stadium in Lesotho offering health and education services, and plenty more.