1970s

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“Any profession is risky and I see no reason to give up my ideal” – Lea Campos, Jornal do Brasil, June 14, 1967. Despite her career as a model and journalist in the 1960s, Lea Campos attended boxing and football arbitration courses, something unthinkable for most women of that time. João Havelange, then president of the CBD (now CBF), claimed that the female bone structure was inferior to male, and for this reason he would not give Lea the referee’s degree. Lea took the decision to do another battery of tests, now with prestigious Brazilian doctors, who certified that the female bone structure was the same as the male. Finally, Havelange appealed to Article 54 of Decree-Law 3,199, of 1941, which prohibited Brazilian women from participating in sports considered “inappropriate to their nature”. But, Lea argued that the decree did not provide a legal impediment for female soccer referees. Unconvinced, Havelange also exposed menstruation as a female attribute that could handicap women on fields and ended the meeting saying that while he was at the head of this organization, women wouldn’t whistle or play football. Finally, she received an authorization from Brazil’s president ordering CBD to give her the referee’s certificate with her full name written: Asalea de Campos Micheli. The certificate was assigned by the

Text: Exhibition – Lea Campos, the first female football referee (Football Museum)
Copyright: Lea Campos’ Private Collection (Football Museum)

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