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Ein Spiel, ein Tampon, eine Idee: der Anstoß für DIE NEUE REGEL

At our recent event Women in Football - The Talk we were able to get to know the team from 'The New Rule'.

It's extremely nice to see that the networking is already bearing fruit and we are happy to support this overlooked but extremely important topic! 

More information on The New Rule can be found on their Instagram page @dieneueregel

The New Rule

Photo Credit: Nadine Jochum ©

“It all started on September 17th, 2023, when my team, Paulaner Wieden Women, had a football match against ASV 13. What initially started as an ordinary game took an unexpected turn in the 35th minute. Nothing unusual really, a thing that happens to half of people once a month. I noticed that my tampon was no longer sealing and if I didn't do something immediately there would be an embarrassing incident. My thoughts only revolved around the fear of embarrassing myself and no longer on the game. Distressed, I ran to the side of the field to my coach. It took a lot of effort and I asked him if I could go to the toilet for a moment. He was irritated at first. With tears in my eyes, I told him that I was on my period. He immediately reacted with understanding and told the referee that I had to leave the field for a moment. So I quickly ran to the toilet and was able to continue the football game again. In that moment I felt mostly shame. In the subsequent conversation with my friend, we came to the conclusion that it was absurd to be ashamed of the most natural thing in the world. We were convinced that this topic should no longer be taboo. The idea of the “NEW RULE” hand signal emerged from this dialogue. There is currently no official regulation for such a situation. Why? Because the rules in football are made by men for men. But we want to change that.”

How does it work?

“You have your period during a football game? Then THE NEW RULE says that you use this simple hand signal to inform your coach to go to the toilet. After 3 minutes you are fresh and focused again on the field. The hand signal is a derivative of the WC hand signal from sign language. The three fingers that stand up symbolise the three minutes it takes to go to the toilet. The thumb and index finger form a drop, which can be interpreted as a vulva and/or menstrual bleeding. It's not just us at Paulaner Wieden Women who use THE NEW RULE, more and more women's teams are joining. The NEW RULE is currently being applied through team coordination. You inform your coach using a hand signal, who then passes this on to the referee. Meanwhile, the game continues with one less person on the field. Next steps for THE NEW RULE are to network with referees and hopefully soon get an official rule book entry from FIFA or the Austrian Football Association so that everyone who is active in women's football benefits from this initiative. It is not unusual for women to have or start their periods during a football game. I'm 27 and still had an uncomfortable feeling about having to leave the field because of it. What would it have been like for younger girls or those who don't have such an understanding coach? THE NEW RULE is only a small step in the right direction, but it is a start in thinking about how we can shape women’s football.”

Photo Credit: Tobias Ludescher ©
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