Red card to the patriarchy

For the referees, expelling the social mandates has been a historic but far from easy task. Estefanía Pinto arrived in Lithuania a few days ago to fulfill her dream: to referee in a World Cup. She is the first Argentine chosen by FIFA to lead a Men’s Futsal World Cup. “Some time ago we saw it impossible to achieve this, which is the maximum in our career. We are five girls from different parts of the world among 35 men”, Says Fani, while he rests from the intense days of preparation for the tournament that will begin on September 12.

Her path as a pioneer began in 2009, when AFA enabled her to enter, and after several exams alongside many men, she signed her contract with the Association. In 2014 she became an international referee and in 2020 Conmebol finally appointed her to participate in the Qualifiers and thus also become the first Argentine to reach it. “You have to be ready. I was lucky to be ready at the exact moment, and thus fulfill the main requirement that is to take the men’s physical test. Now I have the responsibility to show why I am here, to thank the instructors for the trust they have placed in me and, above all, to encourage all the girls who come behind. This is just starting”, Estefanía is excited.

The need for a job opportunity within an amateur discipline led to Flavia Berardo to leave the futsal goal in Boca and respond to a notice that she was looking for referees for a baby soccer league. “That day I turned my work into a vocation because I noticed that I could apply teaching, prioritizing the learning of the boys,” explains this Physical Education teacher. It was not easy because even the moms get on the court to recriminate you for decisions “. But for ‘la Paisa’ the hardest thing was that at first he had no companions to lean on and the pressure of each day became heavy. “Men feel it too, but they channel it differently; They don’t allow themselves to cry, for example, and they show tension by taking out cards or using the power of their words a lot, because at the end of the day they are the ones who make the decisions and let them know ”, he reflects.

“In rugby there are so many codes that even if your referee has been horrible, you will see players greeting you with great respect and coaches who also make a mistake. They are values ​​that are not lost ”, brand Laureana Pappaterra, first female rugby referee, not only from our country, but from all of South America. Current Coach Match Official, today she is in charge of the UAR women’s team of referees and feels that in her case, gender was not an impediment: “The leaders were surprised when they saw me, they hardly knew what to offer me to give me comfort, since few clubs had changing rooms for women but, still, they were looking for a way to offer me something more. They were very nice and motivating details “, highlights. That is why Laureana set out to encourage all women who want to dedicate themselves to this, instilling passion as well as patience and responsibility.

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Carla Domingo has those three qualities and one more: self-confidence. When she started playing basketball at Club América del Sud, she did not imagine that she would become a judge in the National Women’s League and the Argentine Men’s League. With their colleagues they do not want to be “one of the few”, but rather they seek to promote change. “Today the basketball leadership gives us equal opportunities, the doors were opened. That is why we have to live up to it and put passion into it. This does not end here, “he says. Every day more women make up the shortlist in men’s leagues, showing that gender can never outweigh capacity.

Argentine boxing shows another reality: Romina Arroyo is the only Argentine international referee And, despite having more than 20 endorsement world title fights, the Argentine Boxing Federation (FAB) still did not grant him his professional license. “There is discrimination against women by the leaders. They dropped me from two world title fights designated by the World Boxing Association (WBA) without any explanation and they never justified me about the license. I do not exist for them. To grow I had to accept offers from abroad “confesses the Salteña who is currently part of the staff of the AMB, one of the three governing bodies in the discipline.

Being a pioneer brought with it marks such as being the only woman to referee at Luna Park and the only woman to lead a world title. But for the FAB all this is not a sufficient reason to leave behind the patriarchal structures that support it. “There are very few female professionals and it is not because the girls do not sign up, but because later they do not have support. They do not direct the bottom fights, but the preliminaries “, details. Romina managed to overcome the indifference of the Federation by walking the most distant rings of the globe: from Mexico to Japan, from Monaco to Indonesia and many others where both the WBA and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) appointed her to deliver justice in fights male and female.

Today she is a Salta Councilor, works as a television communicator and, although she knows that she could never make a living from boxing, she yearns to support all women who want to be between the ropes: then a third one that they have not yet allowed to emerge ”, he concludes.

The role of all these women is to be fair every time a whistle or a bell rings somewhere in the world, and to be fair in a context that sometimes is not so fair is an even greater challenge.

* Noelia Tegli.


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