adidas creates the world’s first football pitch to have a gender
Posted on 2024 Mar,27

In partnership with Onyx FC, a UAE pioneering all-female football team, adidas in the Middle East transformed the team's pitch into a symbol of female empowerment. By simply adding two dots to the center circle, they effectively turned it into the Arabic letter Ta’Marbuta, which gives words the female gender.

In the Arab world, many young Arab girls from conventional families grow up believing that sports are not for them. This belief stems from the notion in traditional Middle Eastern society that sports are more suitable for boys and men. Sadly, this mindset has led to a startling statistic: an average of 73% of young Arab girls give up playing sports by the age of 14.

To challenge this status quo and raise awareness about the transformative impact of sports on women and girls, adidas Middle East has pioneered the world's first "Female Field." 

This innovative concept stems from a fundamental insight: in the Arabic language, most words associated with sports are female in gender. For instance, words like "ball," "run," "kick," "jump," "goal," "shoot," "pass," and even the word "sport" itself are all considered feminine due to the ending letter, called the "Ta'Marbuta." This letter, written as a circle with two dots on top, imparts feminine gender to Arabic words.

Drawing inspiration from this linguistic feature, adidas incorporated the "Ta'Marbuta" into the design of a football pitch. Just as this letter gives gender to words, it gave gender to the pitch, making it distinctly female. By adding two dots above the center circle, traditionally found on playing fields, adidas created a visible reminder that women belong in the world of sports just as much as men, sparking conversations about the importance of supporting women in sports. 

Two simple dots were all it took to change the pitch from an "it" to a "she” and become a symbol of equality in sports for every young girl and woman to own and spread. This simple yet powerful idea emphasizes representation and encourages society to see things from a female perspective.

The Female Field initiative was launched in collaboration with Onyx FC, the UAE's first and only owned and operated football team, as part of their inclusion in the adidas family. The goal of this partnership is to embody the team's ethos: empowering girls to pursue their sports dreams and giving them the confidence to step onto the field.

Soon enough, countless replicas popped up across Dubai, not just on football fields, but basketball courts, beach football pitches, even Ice Hockey rinks were among the many being turned into Female Fields.