A world record in review
In February 2020, the Football Makes History project organised a conference in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), to focus on gender equality and sexual orientation in the development of content and educational resources. Thanks to one of the project developers, Sport and Development Consultant Marisa Schlenker, the project was able to invite former German national team player and world champion Petra Landers to talk about her experiences. One of the most captivating stories she shared was the world record captured by Equal Playing Field.
In this article:
Football Makes History: The Climb to Equality (YouTube thumbnail).
The record in 2017
It was in 2017 when the world record for highest altitude official football match ever played was broken, by 32 female international pros, competitive amateurs and graduates of sports charities from more than 20 countries. The group had travelled to Tanzania and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro to play the world record highest elevation regulation game in history. More than 1.75km higher than the world’s highest professional stadium and higher even than Everest Base Camp, it was an 11-a-side, full-field, FIFA standard match on a volcanic ash pitch at 5714m.
Looking back, to look ahead
After the FMH conference in Eindhoven, our team stayed in touch with Petra Landers and established new contacts with the organisers of this captivating world record. Thanks to Maggie Murphy, Erin Blankenship and Laura Youngson, we got to learn more about this project and felt that it was time to look back to that world record, in order to look ahead. Media company BeIN had produced an exciting documentary, following the world record’s establishment in 2017. We, at Football Makes History, decided to follow suit and create a short film about this record as well.
With the world holding its breath during the enduring Covid-19 pandemic, we were fortunate that co-founder of Equal Playing Field Laura Youngson as well as Football Makes History Creative Director Stefano di Pietro live and work in Amsterdam. In full accordance with the Dutch distancing rules, we were able to set up a face-to-face interview, and to work with the BeIN footage. Our aim was to capture this unique event in football history in a short film, and to make this available for educational audiences, as well as the interested public. Laura walked us through the origins of the world record attempt, the experience on and with the mountain, and also reflected with us on the purpose of such actions.
Stay tuned. It was very interesting and engaging to interview Laura in Amsterdam, and subsequently, we have learned more about the future plans of Equal Playing Field. If you are out there and are the proud owner of a football world record, be careful, for it might very well be broken soon!
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This article is the result of a webinar series from EuroClio which tackled football and social issues to explore how football history and society intertwine.