Opinion: The Case Of Dani Alves Shows That Men's Football Needs Feminism

It seems every day to find news of footballers accused of mistreatment, harassment, or rape. This shows that it is necessary to train soccer players in soccer and in feminism.

Daniel Alves

Photo: Latin American Post

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Opinión: El caso de Dani Alves demuestra que el fútbol masculino necesita de feminismo

No matter the nationality or the level of competition or league, sports and news newspapers are filled every day with soccer players with reports of harassment, mistreatment, violence, and rape.

The most recent high-profile case is that of former Barcelona and Brazil national team figure Dani Alves. The Brazilian is accused of assaulting and raping a 23-year-old woman. Now, Alves is detained at the Brians' 2 Penitentiary Center. Due to this, the PUMAS club in Mexico, where the multiple champions were playing lately, decided to terminate the athlete's contract for breaching the rules of conduct and ethics.

Today it is Dani Alves, but before they have been characters of the stature of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Diego Maradona, and many others have been denounced, and even convicted. They are cases of sexual assaults up to femicides. This demonstrates a systemic problem and not a specific one. Of different nationalities, cultures, religions, ages, etc. Anyone could be next. But instead of sitting back and waiting for the next attack, the football world should take action and educate fans, owners, managers, and players.

What is striking in these cases is that soccer, instead of being a tool for social change, ends up being a center of macho and misogynistic ideals. Some time ago, the president and owner of a Colombian club, Gabriel Camargo (Deportes Tolima) said disparagingly that women's soccer is "a breeding ground for lesbianism." This a macho statement that went viral in the country, but it represents the thinking of many participants in the sport of ball.

It is precise that another example of this is the little support for women's football. The idea of positioning women's soccer on par with men's is still a distant goal in several countries. Beyond getting paid astronomical salaries like those of male players, agreements have not even been reached to have professional and competitive leagues with the support of clubs in various Latin countries.

Or the homophobic and sexist chants inside the stadiums. All these are evidence of how impregnated soccer is and that instead of serving as a tool to eradicate these evils, it is a "breeding ground" of machismo and misogyny. It is enough to enter sports chats and messages of this type abound. Even this also affects homosexual players. Many athletes have implied that within soccer there is a taboo to coming out of the closet. Patrice Evra, Santiago Cañizares, and Óscar Ruggeri, among others, have shown how these issues are not discussed within teams for fear of rejection and homophobia.

So, with all these structural problems, feminism within football is necessary and urgent. , first of all, the players not only receive sports training, tactics, training in nutrition, or psychological advice, but it is also compulsory to train them in the protection of women.

Many players indeed come from difficult social realities. Surrounded by violence or dysfunctional families. Many find football, the way out of this type of context. But that does not mean that they should repeat these types of actions. It must be football, the sports schools, the training courses of the professional clubs, the national federations, and those in charge of training their future promises. Each young person who sees soccer as a way to fulfill their dreams also has a way to change behaviors and break cycles of violence.

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This will not only bring social benefits but economic ones for clubs and federations. If the clubs have psychological counseling and training to deconstruct macho and violent behaviors, they will avoid having to deal with soccer stars with legal complaints in the future.

An example of this is Mason Greenwood. That young promise from England who dazzled at Manchester United and in the youth team. Who promised to be the next British jewel, ended up in prison for domestic violence and rape of his partner. The young man was less than 20 years old when the events occurred, and surely today, the sporting and economic success that the United and the English Federation could have vanished. If football educated all its young promises and all those players who arrive, they would have better human sets and less risk of gender violence.

Prepare and educate them in consensual sex, gender, respect for sexual diversity, the fight against homophobia, or the prevention of gender violence. That they understand that no matter how often a girl throws herself at them at the disco, it does not mean that it has to end in sex, that consent must be constantly reiterated, and that having relations with an unconscious person is also rape, no matter how much she or he would have “searched” for them.