Earlier this month a video of ten of the world’s best women’s futsal players went viral on social media as they called out FIFA for their broken promises.
Iconic women’s players from Argentina, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Iran, Italy, Brazil, Uruguay and Ukraine appear in the video, shared by the International Women’s Futsal Players Association (AJFSF) in which they question FIFA’s commitment to the development of the women’s game.
In 2018, FIFA committed to launching what they called a ‘women’s futsal competition’ as part of its strategy for women’s football. The details were non-existent, of course, and the lack of ‘World Cup’ phrasing already made many think that this competition would be a second thought to the men’s, but they had put it down in black and white, so surely they would have to make good on at least something?
It’s no exaggeration when I say that years have flown by, and in 2023, there still remains no signs of a Women’s Futsal World Cup on the horizon.
So, what’s the deal?
Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesperson claimed, “FIFA is still undergoing its consultation with confederations and stakeholders on the concept of a women’s futsal World Cup within an overarching strategic approach to women’s football.
“It’s a big, important step… there is no definitive timeline for a decision, but rather, a commitment to an elaborate consultation process.”
Let’s just dig out a few words here, GCSE English style.
First, ‘still’. If FIFA did indeed begin its consultation with confederations and stakeholders in 2018, then they’ve been cogitating for over four years. You would’ve hoped to have seen some progress in that time, be that a solid yes or no, or an update on the process, but… nothing.
Second, ‘elaborate’. I’m not saying that the logistics of a Women’s Futsal World Cup are a walk in the park, but words like ‘elaborate’ conjures up visions of hundreds of strings connecting newspaper articles in a conspiracy theorist’s garage, rather than a measured, thorough approach to move forward.
The fact that they also specifically cite the lack of a ‘definitive timeline’ is also pretty concerning. For players who have already waited for the majority of their career to compete in the World’s greatest competition, the uncertainty, poor communication and general nonchalance when it comes to Women’s futsal from FIFA is likely to be leaving them doubting if they’ll ever get the opportunity… the same opportunity that the men have had ten times over.
It’s no wonder the Players’ Association have called for better, but with their track record, will FIFA deliver anytime soon?