Mixed-gender, 5-aside futsal league a reality in Singapore, 12 years on

In 2011, I mooted the idea of a mixed-gender, 5-aside futsal league. However, due to the lack of response, the idea was shelved. Instead, we at D2D Sports started a women’s 5-aside league.

Twelve years on, a mixed-gender league finally kick-started on Oct 26 at Kickoff Kovan. It saw the participation of six teams – Futsal Kakis FC, PSG FC, Maharlika Temasek, Team Ohana, Ultras Eagles, and Solid F7.

I revisited this idea after slightly over a decade, as I started observing an increase in mixed-gender groups playing the sport casually.

By organising such a league, these players will have something to look forward to every week. It will also be a good opportunity for family members or friends of both genders to take part in the competition.

From the six participating teams, there’s a husband and wife duo, and even a father playing alongside his daughter.

Initially, it was a widely-held belief that a mixed-gender league would dilute the aggression and feistiness that might be expected in an all-male league.

However, that notion was shattered in the final match of the first round of fixtures when things got ugly on the pitch and a fracas broke out at the end of the match.

That incident cast a shadow on the proceedings, and did frighten some of the female participants.

Upon reviewing the closed circuit television footage provided by the venue operator, and with the safety of the rest of the teams in mind, D2D Sports decided to disqualify one of the teams for the violent action.

Instead of continuing the season with five teams, a new team, Inter Bishan, joined the fray on Nov 2, and proceeded to annihilate Maharlika Temasek 24-2.

Some of the rules for the league were tweaked based on the feedback from women players. One of them was that any direct free-kick foul on a woman player by a male player would result in a penalty.

This rule was introduced in consideration of the safety of the female players. At least one woman player has to be on the pitch at all times, and to jazz things up, every goal scored by a woman player is worth two goals.

The latter was introduced to ensure that women players are played in outfield positions and get a lot more involved in the game. It was also introduced to add a bit of novelty to the usual rules.

The nasty incident on the first day notwithstanding, I truly hope the teams enjoyed the experience, and will return for more. I also hope that the experience is positive enough to attract other mixed-gender teams to join the league.

The organising team is also open to tweaking the rules for future seasons.

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