"Instead of developing our game, they just ignored us."

"Instead of developing our game, they just ignored us."

After Chile failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup the national federation (ANFP) did not arrange any matches or training sessions for two years. The team dropped from 41st to 128th in the FIFA rankings. Iona Rothfeld decided to set up a women’s player association as the federation officials stonewalled players.

 

“We kept asking what the reason was for not having a game, but they said nothing,” Rothfeld said. “Instead of developing our game, they just ignored us. It was outrageous.” Conditions in the local women’s league were poor as well. “From my experiences at my own team, Universidad Catolica, and those of my teammates in the national team in their clubs, I knew conditions were really bad.”

 

Rothfeld and some other players set up the Asociacion Nacional de Jugadores de Futbol Feminino (Anjuff) in July 2016, which has generated new energy into women’s football in Chile. “We have organized meetings with the minister of sports, the minister of gender equality and the federation president.” Anjuff presented proposals, including hosting an international tournament and starting a project to let girls and boys play together because girls can’t play organized football until they are 12.

 

“The proposals were received very well. The ANFP included some in its new women’s football development program,” Rothfeld said. Now she has stepped down as union president because she started playing and studying at Ohio Valley University in the United States but remains closely involved with the union. She is looking forward to the first general assembly. “This is another important step for us. I hope that many players will get involved.”

 

Chile will host the 2018 women’s Copa América and the national team is playing again. Earlier this month it lost a friendly in and against France (1-0).

 

source: www.fifpro.org

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