Did you know there was a Women’s World Cup before FIFA realized women existed? It’s true, and there will be a documentary chronicling this forgotten era in sports.
Variety reports that Serena Williams and Venus Williams will collaborate with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios to make Copa 71. The film is in production and follows the events of the 1971 Women’s World Cup, where over 100,000 people witnessed the final at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico. FIFA didn’t sanction this tournament, and it would be the last World Cup for women until FIFA started its version in 1991.
“’Copa 71’ tells the story of one of the most inspirational and significant moments in women’s sports history,” said Serena Williams. “It’s an honor to partner with my sisters and Westbrook Studios to help bring this magical story to light, which has been buried for far too long.”
Venus Williams added: “When I heard about the 1971 Women’s World Cup, I couldn’t believe this incredible story was erased from our history books. I’m excited to team with my sisters and Westbrook Studios to help elevate and empower fellow female athletes and their accomplishments, and to make sure these women have their voices heard through this inspiring documentary.”
Women’s soccer was popular at the turn of the 20th century, but many countries eventually banned women from participating. It pretty much killed any momentum the women’s game had on a professional level, while the men’s game prospered into one of the most popular sports in the world. It wasn’t until the late 60s/early 70s that those countries lifted their bans, and immediately began club and international competitions. However, the damage was done, and while women’s soccer is getting increasingly popular, the men’s version has had a 50+ year head start.