Sports culture. “The beacons of women’s football are those of feminism,” emphasizes Hubert Artus


The writer Hubert Artus.

AFP

Why this book? Why after a more generic “ soccer galaxy “Did you choose to speak of the round ball only with its feminine “side”?

Why not ? I have been following women’s football with great interest for about fifteen years. In the beginning, I dragged my gaiters near the Juvisy club (now Paris Football Club). I was also very scarred by the 2011 World Cup semi-final lost by the Blues against the Americans (1-3), in which I see a founding moment, a bit like that of the men against the Germany in Seville in 1982.

After her, Noël Le Graët forced every French professional club to have a women’s section. Gradually, the idea found its way into a closer look in a book, to get a real overview of the world of women’s football and to understand how much it now represents a real “soft power” and the geopolitical issue that confronts her. own.

You set the birth of a “modern” women’s football in France well before, with the epic of the girls of the Stade de Reims in the years after 68.

It’s true. Under the impulse of a man from elsewhere, Pierre Geoffroy. In Reims, there was a breeding ground in the collective sports unconscious with the great team of Kopa, Piantoni, Fontaine… It is also a land of workers’ revolt and feminism. That’s what the girls of Reims wore, despite themselves deep inside. While their first claim was only to have the right to play in competition. What was not so well seen then… They will succeed so well that they will automatically form the backbone of the French team.

The championship audience is weak, but that’s also because of the heartbreaking quality of the TV images

On the impression to read that macho and sexist reluctance have long existed all over the world.

Yes, this is undoubtedly true, but this observation must be tempered according to the regions of the world. In America, in Australia, where the sport is mainly a university, in Scandinavia and beyond in Northern Europe, women’s football has fully and quickly imposed itself. This is less the case with us.

I think it’s primarily because in terms of acceptance of women’s sports, it’s team sports that, if I may say so, have caused the most problems because they see themselves attached to a sexual or even homosexual imaginary… I am convinced that the beacons of women’s football are those of feminism and that the feminisms in the world are very different. Even though in the West we find three great moments schematically over time: the pre-war suffragettes, the MLF during the post-war boom and today the “Metoo” movement.

This has nevertheless led us to a real globalization of women’s football, with its good and bad sides. The universality of a common language and the rise of the money king.

Does that mean it’s won, there’s no turning back? However, in France for example, outside international matches, the TV audience is very low and there are few spectators in the stadiums.

Yes, the audience is weak, but that’s also because of the heartbreaking quality of the TV images. And above all, the players are still not really professional, they remain subject to federal contracts. Ada Hegerberg, OL player and first women’s Golden Ball in history, was touched recently when the FFF applied to host Euro 2025.

Yet I believe it is still won. This will be the case when, as in the Olympic Games, World Cups, Euros or European Cups for girls and boys are organized at the same time and in the same place. We will get there. This is the meaning of history.