Women’s World Cup: Fighting for equality one world record at a time

Posted at 9:06 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 11:06:46-04

Having played the highest football match in history and broken the record for playing at the lowest point on earth, a group of footballers are now focusing on another world record — for the largest number of players to ever play in a single game.

As the Women’s World Cup approaches its climax, grassroots nonprofit organization Equal Playing Field is attempting to break its third world record in as many years in a bid to empower women in sport and challenge the inequalities women face in sport, particularly football.

From June 27 to July 1 in Lyon, the French city which will host the World Cup semifinals and finals, it is hoped that over 3,000 men and women of all abilities will participate in the record attempt.

Among those taking part in the five-day non-stop 11-a-side match will be a group of UK female lawmakers and former professionals, such as ex-France midfielder Sandrine Dusang.

The existing record was set in Chile in 2016 and involved 2,357 players playing in a four-day game.

Played on a full-sized pitch at Olympique Lyonnais’ academy, the match will be played through the day and night and for each player to be counted he or she will need to play for at least 10 minutes and touch the ball at least once.

In 2017, Equal Playing Field organized a match on Mount Kilimanjaro at 18,799 feet, an altitude not attempted before, while last year a 12-day trek of Jordan concluded with a 90-minute 11-a-side match at 1,412 ft below sea level, the lowest point on dry land.

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“In recent years national teams have gone on strike, tired of poor working conditions and being treated with little or no respect,” Laura Youngson, Equal Playing Field’s co-founder said.

“Teams have alleged sexual and physical abuse against the very people meant to support and grow the game. The global football community is so far away from being able to say that gender equality in football is here. We simply want a world where any girl anywhere can play, coach, referee and work in the game they love.”