Home » GC soccer player Leandra Flury is sexually harassed and shows the perpetrators

GC soccer player Leandra Flury is sexually harassed and shows the perpetrators

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GC soccer player Leandra Flury is sexually harassed and shows the perpetrators

Sexism on the football field is widespread. Many footballers have had enough: they no longer want to look away.

Leandra Flury is angry. The 24-year-old footballer plays for Grasshoppers Zurich. On Saturday her team lost to the FC Basel women’s team. It was a narrow defeat and the game was only decided in extra time. But it wasn’t the missed entry into the Cup semi-finals that made Flury so angry.

Flury writes on Instagram that the sexist comments from “complete idiots” were much worse. She shared a photo of the bleachers showing two men. Flury blurred the faces with clown emojis. The men sexually harassed her while she was warming up for the game, made lewd comments about her body, and moaned when she did her exercises. And when she bit into a muesli bar, the men said to Flury: “Oh yeah, great, give it to the bar, then you’ll get a little fatter.”

Grasshoppers Zurich and FC Basel have now strongly condemned the incident. They said they wanted to identify the men and hold them accountable. You are now threatened with a stadium ban.

Players have learned to listen

The incident makes it clear that sexism is still a major problem in women’s football. Female footballers are often sexualized and reduced to their bodies – their sporting performance is devalued.

The most recent international scandal was the kissing affair involving Spain’s former football association boss Luis Rubiales. He kissed the Spanish footballer Jennifer Hermoso in August 2023 after winning the World Cup final. The photo went around the world and there was a huge outcry. The association made up a quote from Hermoso, according to which she had allegedly agreed to the kiss. Hermoso objected and accused Rubiales. A Spanish court later ruled that the kiss was given “without consent.”

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Research published in 2022 by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and NDR also shows how serious the grievances are in women’s football. The journalists spoke to players from different leagues, referees, coaches and football managers. They encountered everyday sexism and structural disadvantage for women.

Amateur soccer players and professional soccer players equally reported sexism. It comes from all sides: from the football coaches, the spectators, from the male footballers. According to the research, the players had to listen to statements like “woman” or “she should shower with us”, fans put their hands on their bottoms when they took photos, the coaches disqualified the performance of the footballers and said that they would never reach the level of the footballers anyway reach men. One player said they all learned to listen away.

A new self-confidence

Alisha Lehmann plays on the Swiss national soccer team and is considered one of the most successful soccer players ever. The media coverage about her is about her appearance, her love life, her success on social media.

However, Alisha Lehmann often has to justify her skills on the football field. In an interview, she said she often hears that women can’t play football and belong in the kitchen. She ignores these comments: “There will always be people who don’t support women’s football because they think it’s a men’s sport.”

Women’s football is less visible than men’s football. The women’s games attract fewer spectators to the stadiums and the television ratings are lower. Female soccer players earn a fraction of what their male professional colleagues earn annually: no female professional soccer player earns more than $500,000 annually, while men can earn double-digit monthly salaries in the millions.

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But the picture is slowly changing. The number of spectators at female footballers’ games is increasing and women’s football is becoming more attractive for sponsors and football clubs. The Women’s World Cup in 2023 is an example of this development. The group games of the Swiss footballers achieved market shares of up to 71 percent among the Swiss television audience. Viewer numbers were also high in Germany.

Maybe that’s why many female footballers have developed a new self-confidence. Female players like Leandra Flury are committed to ensuring that they are treated equally to male footballers. And they fight to ensure that at some point their games will only be about football.

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