March 06, 2024

"Women play a fundamental role in the fight against discrimination in football"

March 06, 2024

"Women play a fundamental role in the fight against discrimination in football"

In a week marked by International Women's Day, which brings together not only a celebration of the achievements made by women throughout history, but also a series of challenges that we as a society still have to face - and where sport is no exception - the Thinking Football Summit sought to hear from women in leading positions in sport, to learn about their stories, reflections and challenges.


The first steps of Olga de la Fuente, director of Fundación LALIGA, in the football world, comes just as the foundation has been set up, with which, in recent decades, she has worked to "take the values of football all over the world", she told Thinking Football Summit:


"The beginning of my experience in the world of football dates back to 1993, when the FUNDACIÓN LALIGA was established as a private non-profit cultural entity, a pioneer in the field of professional football, and with a philanthropic spirit and commitment to society.  Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of directing this entity, from which we have developed a multitude of projects aimed at education, social inclusion and the promotion of social responsability and sustainability among professional football foundations. All of this is in line with LALIGA's clear commitment to undertake a committed social responsability programme in line with its strategy of sustainable and responsible growth.

These 31 years at the head of the FUNDACIÓN LALIGA have meant a very important responsibility and permanent growth on a personal and professional level. And precisely thanks to this professional career and experience, I have been a privileged witness of how sport in general and football in particular can change people's lives, generate a positive impact on their lives, and that is undoubtedly the most satisfying and rewarding part for all of us who work in the social sphere. It's a lot of hours, a lot of commitment and humanity, but the reward is much greater than what you put in.

I believe that football is universal and a very powerful tool for change in society. In these three decades we have gone from simply being supportive to using the great transforming power of football to take the values of football around the world, with the aim of having a real impact on society. That is why we have developed numerous projects to improve the quality of life of children and young people in disadvantaged contexts, to achieve the integration of people with intellectual disabilities, to empower women in rural areas and to offer opportunities to refugees, among other things".


Regarding LALIGA, Olga de la Fuente believes that the organisation is "very clear about its responsibilities" and points out that the "inclusion and empowerment of women" is essential in order to create a "more equal and respectful context in football and in society in general":


“The LALIGA clubs are very clear that social responsibility is increasingly important in any type of organisation, but even more so in football clubs, where emotions, values and feelings are very present in the philosophy and history of each club. For example, the 46 clubs participating in LALIGA GENUINE are showing an admirable involvement with their Genuine teams, integrating them into the structure of their organisations, giving them the same importance as their first squads, or involving them in the different activities they develop.

Football has a unique opportunity to consider its role and position within its local and global community to promote the kind of social transformation needed to ensure a fairer and more equal world. This social transformation can be achieved by driving sustainability actions designed and executed by the leagues themselves and their clubs using their reach and ability to inspire the next generation and therefore has a responsibility to promote values of integrity, respect and equality.

By using its huge voice, football can raise awareness about environmental and social issues and promote sustainable initiatives among its fans and local communities. They can inspire fans to adopt sustainable lifestyles, which can also contribute to tackling larger issues such as climate change.

The challenges are many and diverse, but I would highlight the promotion of social inclusion through sport, the fight against discrimination in any of its manifestations, and the promotion of values such as fair play and solidarity. In addition, we face the constant challenge of expanding the scope of our programmes to reach more communities and generate an even greater impact on society.

Women play a key role in the fight against discrimination in football. Their active participation as players, coaches, referees, officials and supporters contributes to changing perceptions and promoting gender equality at all levels of the sport. The inclusion and empowerment of women is essential to create a more equitable and respectful environment in football and in society at large".