Before the Finalissima, Brazilian athletes pay tribute to the pioneers of women's football in a CONMEBOL campaign2023-04-05
- The campaign centrepiece is an emotional spot honouring women’s football pioneers in Brazil
- Brazilian players read letter of thanks to football pioneers
- Athletes wear commemorative shirts displaying decree and article that banned women’s football.
The Finalissima, where England and Brazil face off and in which the Brazilian team will be representing the whole South American continent, is already historic. Wembley Stadium, now with a capacity of 90,000 fans, will certainly stage a new attendance record for women’s football in the country, as tickets have been sold out since January.
The year in which the inaugural women’s Finalissima takes place also marks the 40th anniversary of the regulation of women’s football in Brazil, which had previously been forbidden. CONMEBOL makes it a point to honour the end of the decree-law that established «women will not be allowed to practice sports incompatible with the condition of their nature».
In honour of the pioneers of women’s football who had to fight against this decree, CONMEBOL has developed a series of actions, part of the «Futebol é Futebol» («Football is Football») campaign. Launched in 2022, the campaign aims to contribute to the transformation and positioning of the sport in the South American continent.
An excerpt from the video in which Brazilian players read a letter of thanks to women’s football pioneers asks: “How many of you could only dream of being here today?”.
Thousands, for sure. But the 26 who will be wearing the Brazilian national team jersey in a fully packed Wembley Stadium know they did not get there by chance. They know what they stand for. More than a shirt. A legacy.
On the video, images show the past, present and future of the Brazilian women’s team while the players read the letter of thanks to the pioneers.
The athletes also had a workout session with a special shirt on, in memory of those who did not let themselves be intimidated and kept going so the sport would conquer its space.
The ban on women’s football in Brazil
On April 14, 1941, Decree 54 of Law 3.199 prohibited women from playing soccer in Brazil. Amongst other passages, the text stated that women could not «practice sports incompatible with their nature». The law was in force for almost 40 years, before being lifted in 1979. Actual regulation of women’s football in the country came only four years later. Some 45 years of fighting for equal rights.
Despite the end of the decree, many athletes continued to face barriers while practicing their profession. Sissi, the first great star of the Brazilian national team, was barred from playing in a competition after shaving her hair in solidarity with a child who suffered from cancer.
The first women’s Finalissima celebrates the meeting of the 2022 winners of the UEFA Women’s EURO and the CONMEBOL Women’s America Cup, under a cooperation agreement between both organizations.
The match will take place at Wembley Stadium at 19:45 local time on Thursday, April 6, 2023.