The Swiss city of Geneva is setting up the country’s first fan zone for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in a bid to level the playing field and break down gender stereotypes.
The four semi-final and final matches will be shown on a giant screen in July.
"The City of Geneva's objective is to purge stereotypes in sport in order to allow everyone to practice the sport that suits them," Mayor Sandrine Salerno told Swiss media on Tuesday.
More and more women play football in Switzerland. In 30 years, the number of female competition players has increased tenfold to 28,000 today, according to Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.
Carried out in partnership with the Geneva Cantonal Football Association, this innovative project is part of the "Gender and Sports" programme.
"It's a prototype,” explained Salerno. “We will have to see how it works in order to eventually continue in the coming years.”
Due to a lack of human and financial resources, only the four semi-final and final games will be broadcast on July 2, 3, 6 and 7 at the Mont-Blanc rotunda, on the shores of Lake Geneva.
The space will be able to accommodate a thousand fans. Entertainment is also planned, such as a giant football table and small games with the participation of top players.
More women in sports
Sami Kanaan, in charge of sport, sasy this event is a strong symbolic act that could inspire young girls and women to play.
"Women's football is changing fast and its financial value is increasing, which is a form of recognition," he said.
Caroline Abbé, former captain of the Swiss team and member of the Swiss Football Association for the promotion of women's football, agrees. "Let's hope that this fan zone will further break the barrier of gender discrimination," she said.
She recalls the taunts she endured when she started playing football 25 years ago, but her parents supported her choice.