The D2D Mixed 5s
While mixed gender sports matches are rarely seen in Singapore apart from the standard PE lesson match-ups, this reality may soon change with the announcement of Singapore’s first mixed gender sports tournament.
For the first time ever, teams of men and women will work together to beat their opponents in a formal futsal tournament. The D2D Mixed 5s will occur from 26 Oct 2023 to 18 Jan 2024, at Kickoff! Kovan, with six teams having stepped up for the challenge.
So far, a total of 40 men and 25 women have signed up for the event.
Organisers Have Discussed Hosting A Mixed Gender Tournament Since 2011
Just in case you don’t know what D2D Sports are, they are one of Singapore’s biggest amateur sporting event organisers. They have hosted events ranging from tournaments for corporate team-building to friendly international tournaments.
According to Rasvinder Singh, the executive director of D2D Sports, the idea of a mixed gender concept in 2011 was discussed back when the women’s five-a-side league was first organised. However, “ the plan was placed on the backburner”.
Singh feels that it is a good opportunity for the existing mixed teams to play together in an organised setting. He also hoped that the league would provide a chance for players to play in an environment that is less tense.
The main emphasis for this particular tournament is not to see who is the better of the sexes (hopefully nobody is thinking this), but rather on having the players enjoy themselves alongside the opposite sex who may be either their family, partners or friends.
Some Challenges Involved Putting Together Teams And Addressing Safety Concerns Regarding Footwear
Singh added that it was a challenge to put teams together for a league “that is so niche and doesn’t offer cash prizes”.
Another problem was that all players were initially expected to wear non-studded shoes to ensure their own safety. However, I’m sure most people have futsal enthusiast friends who will not be caught dead without their studded shoes.
Eventually, D2D agreed to allow studded footwear for this particular tournament, but hopes players will consider transitioning towards non-studded shoes in the future.
Special Rules of Play For Female Players
As with every tournament, rules are needed to encourage fair and safe play during each match. However, there are some rules that seem to favour women players for this particular tournament.
Some particular examples are:
All direct free-kick fouls on women players will result in a penalty kick. Every goal scored by a female player will count as two goals.
The rationale behind the first two rules are to “protect female players who may be cautious of physical challenges by male players” and to “encourage teams to play women in outfield positions instead of limiting them to goalkeeping roles”.
Of course, this may eventually be a source of debate. Should the playing field be kept equal for both men and women? Or should there be special considerations for an event that is currently one-of-kind?
More importantly: Can we soon find out if grandmas can really play better than you in football?