Brazil has gone through a potentially significant three-day news cycle this week, though the lasting implications won’t be known for many years.
On Monday, Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said he has spoken with FIFA president Sepp Blatter about Brazil’s interest in hosting a Women’s World Cup, potentially as early as 2019.
“I think other countries are interested in holding the event,” Rebelo said. “We’ll have to look at the calendar. If we don’t get it for 2019, then we’ll have to look at another year (2023).”
The 2015 Women’s World Cup will be played in Canada, which came as little surprise since the only formal opposing bid from Zimbabwe was retracted before the vote and never seemed like a serious one, anyway.
So that Brazil is already declaring interest in hosting the event — and supposed competition for it — is a good thing for women’s soccer globally; but more importantly, it’s a tangible sign that Brazil actually cares about women’s soccer. The Brazilian Football Confederation (CFB) has yet to show much desire to support the women’s side of the sport, despite producing five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta, the most individually talented player in the world.
Talk to Marta about Brazil for even a few minutes and her story won’t change — there is a lack of support for the women’s national team. Her story doesn’t change because the conditions do not change, either. Brazil is the country of soccer…you just have to be a male for anyone to care, it seems.
But now, Brazil finds itself interested — so they say — in hosting the pinnacle of women’s soccer events, following the 2014 World Cup across the country and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
And on Wednesday, a new Brazilian women’s soccer league kicks off with four groups of five teams each. The season runs through December and the trusty Socceway has the schedule.
Brazilian state-owned bank Caixa Econômica Federal has signed a deal with the CFB worth reportedly $4.34 million to fund the new women’s league.
This all amounts to some encouraging signs for women’s soccer in Brazil, though as many other leagues around the world can attest to, sustainability is the key. Should the CFB finally show some legitimate interest in supporting and progressing its women’s soccer players and programs, they could finally get to the next step of standing atop a podium.
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