Request to send the girls’ team to a 10-year-old boys’ miniball competition.
The ÍR basketball club wishes to send a girls’ team to compete in the Icelandic 10-year-old boys’ miniball tournament. It is therefore requested that one team be registered for the competition, but the ID numbers of the players are attached. If the tournament director considers that it is not permitted to register the girls’ team for a competition in 10-year-old boys’ miniball, it is requested that the KKÍ board grant ÍR an exemption for competition in Íslandsmót for 10-year-old boys for one girls’ team.
This request is submitted on behalf of the ÍR basketball club, the team’s coaches, players and parents, who all support one ÍR girls team being allowed to compete in the Icelandic 10-year-old boys’ miniball tournament.
For the past three years, Brynjar Karl Sigurðsson has been coaching girls born in 2006-2008 in basketball. This is a very ambitious project and the girls’ skills in basketball have become exemplary and it is noticed. Last season, the girls played in the Icelandic tournament for 11-year-old girls and the A-team was one of the 6 best teams in the country at the end of the tournament, despite the fact that four of the six girls were only 9 years old.
KKÍ’s policy has always been to find projects suitable for players. Now the situation is such that the girls in question do not get any competition at the Icelandic tournament for 10 or 11 year old women. It has long been customary to let promising players play in age groups above them in order to get a suitable competition, but since the girls are still only 10 years old, it is difficult to go far up to get a suitable competition as then they meet much taller and heavier players which creates a disadvantage and does not provide good competition in other areas of basketball. For the last 3 years, the girls have been competing in various tournaments held by the clubs and always compete with their male peers. The A-team has so far not lost a game against boys, so it is clear that they are competitive with their peers of the opposite sex.
For many years, it has regularly occurred in the junior categories of girls that a strong team emerges in an age group that effortlessly defeats all its opponents, which has caused other teams and girls to refrain from competing against the strongest teams in the age group. No need to look further than last winter when a game went 101-2 which attracted a lot of attention and discussion. It is clear to everyone that such results are not good for anyone, the stronger team does not get the right competition and the weaker team could be in danger of losing players and the resignation of coaches. It is therefore much better for all parties if the A-team gets to take part in the 10-year-old boys’ miniball tournament and thus the team gets good competition as well as the boys who play against it. Teams B and C of ÍR would then compete in the Icelandic tournament for 10 year old girls.
First and foremost, the goal is to show that if girls receive top training and are trained like men (athletes) then they can achieve the same results as their male peers in the sport in those aspects of the game that do not involve physical prowess (technical skills, tactics and fighting spirit).
However, the project has much broader goals. Among other things, to achieve a change in attitudes towards women in sports. Everyone who works in sports today knows the status of women’s sports and despite the good intentions of many, it can be very difficult to achieve lasting change. Those who are familiar with it know that the reasons for the difference that exists today between male and female sports are many and lie deep in society. These include attitudes towards the future potential of women in sports, attitudes towards what is acceptable behavior of girls, poorer coaches, different frameworks, lower player ambitions, fewer sponsors, fewer spectators and so on. In this way, new standards can be set in the training of women, not only in basketball but in sports in general.
The project has already attracted a lot of attention and Sagafilm is working on a documentary about the project. Filming for the documentary has begun and foreign television stations have bought the rights to the documentary. Here, the basketball movement is given the opportunity to be a role model for other nations and to be at the forefront when it comes to increasing gender equality within the sports movement. Iceland has always been known for being a leader when it comes to gender equality, and here is an opportunity to take an active part in such a fight. It has happened in both the United States and in Europe that the women’s team are allowed to compete in boys’ divisions, so there should be nothing to prevent this from being possible in this country.
By allowing girls to take part in boys’ tournaments, with the aim of finding them a suitable competition, the basketball movement shows that it thinks outside the box and does not let standard ideas hold back the growth of players and the possibility of paradigm shifts when it comes to women’s coaching.
In addition, this is an important contribution to the equality movement, as boys see that girls can play basketball in the same quality category as them. It is therefore empowering for all girls to see, and at the same time boys learn to respect girls.
The project should also support increased “achievement thinking” in girls who practice basketball. Today, the Icelandic men’s national team has achieved remarkable results, but unfortunately the women’s national team has not been able to follow their example. Neither with the A-national team nor in the junior divisions. It was also recently revealed that a team in the Women’s Premier League did not start training together until 2 weeks before the first game. Every opportunity should be taken to increase the achievement of girls in basketball at all ages and to see girls compete on an equal footing with boys should inspire other girls to train better and put in more effort.
In a historical context, sports competitions have generally been gender segregated. The reason has certainly been that in order to ensure a suitable competition, it was considered appropriate to let men play among themselves and women among themselves. Men are generally physically stronger than women and men’s sports began before women and therefore has a longer history, better training and so much more that explains the historical advantage of men’s sports in women’s sports.
However, it has long been customary in many sports, here in Iceland and elsewhere, for girls to be allowed to compete with boys’ teams. KSÍ specifically states that girls can play with boys in boys’ tournaments up to a certain age and although such a provision is not in the KKÍ rules, it has long been customary for promising girls to be allowed to play with boys in tournaments; so that they have a suitable competition, there are not enough girls to train in the club or there is a need for more players in the boys’ team.
It is therefore clear that there isn’t anything in the KKÍ rules that prevents the girls’ team from registering to compete in a boys’ tournament.
As stated above, ÍR requests an exemption to register one girls’ team to compete in the 10-year-old Icelandic miniball tournament. Nothing in KKÍ’s laws and regulations prevents this from being permitted. An exemption is only requested for the Íslandsmót 10-year-old miniball tournament in the winter of 2017-2018, and if the exemption is granted, the project can be evaluated next spring.
If the tournament director does not give permission to register the girls team for the competition and the matter goes to the KKÍ board, it is requested that Brynjar Karl, the girls’ coach and a representative of ÍR, be allowed to attend the board meeting and review the project and the opportunities the project opens for the basketball movement .
On behalf of the ÍR basketball club
Guðmundur Óli Björgvinsson – Chairman of kkd. ÍR
Jóhannes Karl Sveinsson – Lawyer
Bryndís Gunnlaugsdóttir – Lawyer