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ASA Mixed Gender Football Cup: Promoting gender equality through football

Author: Ernest Abhishek

ASA Mixed Gender Football Cup: Promoting gender equality through football

The third season of ASA U9 Mixed Gender Football Cup was held on 4 and 5 June, with an aim to break gender barriers and promote gender equality in rural football.

Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) has been advocating and facilitating girls to take part in sports from a very young age. Tp advance these efforts ASA has been organising mixed gender football tournaments for their grassroots football clubs spread across the Anantapur district. The third U9 Mixed Gender Cup was held on 4 and 5 June 2019, at Anantapur Sports Village (ASV). 16 teams consisting of 160 girls and boys all under the age of 9 years participated in the tournament.

ASA has been instrumental in the development of football in the region by starting Mandal football clubs and encouraging communities to take ownership and building their capacities. In order to cultivate sporting values and culture in boys and girls from a young age, ASA came up with the idea of U9 Mixed Gender Tournaments. Mixed gender games not only encourages girls to take part in the game but also helps both girls and boys to understand and challenge the existing patriarchal beliefs and gender stereotypes from a young age.

The Mixed Gender Cup was organised as a part of the partnership with La Liga Foundation and La Liga Women’s Department. This partnership, which started in April 2018, furthered ASA’s efforts to promote gender equality through grassroots football in rural India. Through this collaboration ASA has engaged 2,143 children (737 girls and 1,406 boys) and seen a 295% increase in girls participation in football in the Anantapur District.

“Playing with the opposite gender from a young age cultivates respect for each other and teaches them the importance of gender equality. These tournaments help them learn sporting values such as teamwork and fair play,” said Dada Khalandar, football coordinator at ASA.

In this tournament, 160 girls and boys in 16 teams competed in a total of 30 matches over the course of two days. Each team registered 4 girls and 6 boys and to ensure equitable participation during the matches teams were encouraged to field a minimum of 2 girls in the starting lineup comprising of 5 players. Dharmavaram FC bagged the cup for the second time in the 3 seasons, Hindupur South FC stood in second, while Gooty Town and Atmakur FC placed third and fourth respectively.

Talking with the children in the presentation ceremony Anantapur Sports Academy Director, Sai Krishna Pulluru said, “These two days were a pleasant sight to see you all play football with such tremendous levels of energy and enthusiasm. We are happy to see this unique platform enabling you all to enjoy the sport together and respect the opposite gender from such a young age. Unfortunately, our partners, Fundacion La Liga and La Liga Women’s department, couldn’t make it today but we thank them for their support towards this unique event. Also looking back, starting with zero teams a couple of years ago to having 16 teams participating in this edition of Mixed Gender Cup shows the event has come a long way in mobilising support. On this moment, we would like to thank all our Mandal football clubs’ coaches and volunteers for their commitment towards providing equal opportunities to both girls and boys through football in their respective villages. ”

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 14:16