A mixed stadium, “because it’s not just men who play football”

Racing players, women and men of all ages, workshops, instructors, elected officials… There was enthusiasm around the “new” Alice Millat stadium, a public stadium open to all, in the Wacken district, in Strasbourg. And more women than usual, more, and that’s no coincidence. Designed by a resident of Strasbourg as part of the first season of the participatory budget, the synthetic football pitch has been “customized” and a special day has been arranged for its inauguration this Wednesday. Goal: promote diversity in sport. Located on the sports island, at the foot of the European Parliament, it is a symbol. As the name suggests: the Alice Millat stadium, (1884-1957), sportswoman and French champion, activist in the fight for the recognition of women’s sports at the international level.

Purple panels (non-gender color, explains an elected official), slogans, positive messages… Some goal nets are also purple. “It’s better,” explained a 12-year-old football player. It’s not just boys who play football,” said the girl.

New visual identity at the newly named Alice Millat stadium in Strasbourg on November 2, 2022 – Mr. Varela / 20 Minutes

The city explained a customized stadium, conceived and desired after an online citizen vote, whose goal is to give space to women in the city’s football fields, for women and men, to play together or separately , as a beginner or professional. Recognized near the field, however, this does not mean much to Marek and Romain, two friends who have come to kill time around a ball. Not even two weeks old, they’re living proof that there’s still a lot of work to be done: a mixed terrain? “Is the goal bigger so you don’t miss out? “, one of them smiled. Hints, shy, were born and multiplied, even if one of them was tackled by another friend who reminded them of the “perfs” of the French women’s team. A little more, Théo saw and Antonin these new “beautiful colors”, although they seem unconvinced that it will change minds.

“Actually, it was not easy for a girl alone to come here to play football, there were only boys, but someone came”, recalls Antonin, proof that the exception is not always the rule. If they appreciate the colors and the positive messages along the handrail, they look forward to next Wednesday and the end of the agitation to reclaim the stadium. “It’s good that girls also play football, especially when they play well. This is this operation, but it is better to organize small battles with them than to have panels, Theo advanced. Things are changing quite a bit, in clubs there are more and more women’s teams, and there are more and more women referees, especially in FIFA. ” ” Yes, good but good, Antonin worried. If too many girls go into this field, there will be less room for us, there just aren’t enough. »

RCSA players lead workshops with youth from the surrounding neighborhoods
RCSA players conduct workshops with youth from surrounding neighborhoods – Mr. Varela / 20 Minutes

Instead, “men need to learn to share, it’s a social issue,” insisted Owusu Tufuor, deputy in charge of sport, sports and leisure equipment in Strasbourg. We live in a society where diversity should be a monument. It is not because they are the first that girls do not have access to the field. The little space we have, we have to learn to share it”. For the elected official, the 15,000 euros invested in the new signage is a good gesture from the city to encourage girls to practice a sport, whatever it may be. “There is a real lack of girls in the sport,” she explained. A sign: “In requests for sports license assistance scholarships, it is 35% of female requests when it is 65% for boys. the gap remains enormous. There is always a debate about the place of women in society. This is just the beginning. My dream is for girls to attack this equipment,” concluded the chosen one.

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