As the World Cup kicks off in Qatar shortly before the start of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism to tackle gender-based violence, the End Violence Against Women Coalition has joined the Three Hijabis in urgently calling on football to tackle misogyny and gender-based violence in the sport.
In a joint statement, we are asking football clubs and institutions to show which side they are you on when it comes to violence against women, calling for an end to football being used to sports-wash violence against women and girls, the exploitation of migrant workers, homophobia, Islamophobia and all forms of racism.
Today (21st November 2022), as England play Iran, the campaigners are also calling on FIFA (International Federation of Association Football), the Football Association (FA), the Wales and England football teams to show solidarity and amplify the voices of Iranian women leading national protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, while she was detained in police custody after she was arrested for not wearing the correct hijab.
This Qatar World Cup is rightly being used as a backdrop to protest and resistance to the many ways in which women and girls are harmed within football. It is by shining a bright light on the ugly side of the beautiful game that we can harness the power of football fans to hold those with power in football accountable. Football must be a truly safe space for all women and girls.
The Three Hijabis said:
“We salute the bravery of our sisters in Iran standing up for their right to live freely without patriarchal control and the weaponisation of religion to police their bodies and choices.
This World Cup cannot and must not ignore violence against women and girls and gender-based violence inside and outside of football.
Our England team and players have a duty to use their profile and platform to amplify the voices of women in Iran and support the players and staff in the Iranian national team who hold these same values. They have demonstrated their commitment to standing up to racism and standing up against homophobia. The Qatar World Cup is another vital moment for football to commit itself to taking the necessary action to stand up to all forms of gender-based violence and violence against women and girls in football.”
End Violence Against Women Coalition director Andrea Simon added:
“The World Cup should be a time of celebration. But as our football campaign has shown the beautiful game has an ugly underside when it comes to violence against women.
The lead up to the Qatar World Cup has laid bare how this ugly side is riddled with many intersecting systems of oppression and harm – providing an opportunity for us to come together and show solidarity in our shared fight for a society and game free from abuse.
And with the upcoming England vs Iran game, we stand side by side with our sisters, The Three Hijabis, and their calls for solidarity with the women of Iran and their fight for freedom.”
Sinead Geoghegan, Communications Manager, email@example.com 07960 744 502