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‘You get used to the gunfire’ – filming the Libyan women’s football team

Denounced on TV, they train at secret locations watched by armed guards. We meet the woman from Hastings who made a fascinating film about Libya’s guttsiest football squad

‘Just what our country needs!” rails the imam sarcastically on Libyan TV. “A women’s football team! And what’s more, they chose tall, young beautiful girls for the team – and for months their legs will be exposed.”

Women’s football may be getting its moment in the spotlight with the World Cup about to kick off. But, as the absorbing new documentary Freedom Fields reveals, the Libyan women’s national team has some way to go. As well as that imam, the film also features this statement from extremist group Ansar al-Sharia: “We strongly refute what the supporters of immoral westernisation are doing under the pretext of women’s freedom. This might lead to other sports with even more nudity, such as swimming and running.”

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