Adidas used an Arabic letter to create ‘female’ sports fields in the Middle East

Havas Middle East campaign aims to remind Arab girls and women that they belong in sports just as much as men

Published On
Apr 01, 2024
A triptych of a female soccer player, a soccer field, and the Onyx Football Club monogram

Editor's Pick

Sports are not for girls. At least, they aren’t in much of the Arab world.

For many Arab girls from conventional families, Middle Eastern society tells them sports are more suitable for boys and men. As a result, an average of 73% of young Arab girls give up playing sports by the age of 14.

But ironically, in the Arabic language, most words associated with sports are female in gender. That’s why Adidas’ new campaign from Havas Middle East aims to reclaim sports fields using symbolism that represents feminine language commands.

To challenge the status quo and raise awareness about the impact of sports on women and girls, Adidas converted fields across Dubai into “Female Fields,” by imparting the letter ending, the “Ta’Marbuta,” onto them. 

Written as a circle with two dots on top, the Ta’Murbata assigns feminine gender to Arabic words. Words already associated with sports, such as “ball,“ “run,” “kick,” “jump,” “goal,” “shoot,” “pass” and even the word “sport” itself are all considered feminine due to the ending letter.

For the campaign, Adidas incorporated the "Ta'Marbuta" into the design of a soccer (football) pitch by adding two dots above the center circle found in playing fields, ultimately giving gender to the pitch and making it female.


The message of the act was that women belong in the world of sports just as much as men. The goal is to spark conversations about the importance of supporting women in sports and push Arabic society to see things from the female perspective, said Anshuman Bhattacharya, creative director at Havas Middle East. 

“The goal of this campaign is to remind all young Arab girls and women that they belong in the world of sports just as much as anyone else, by using an element of the Arabic language itself,” he said. “The objective behind creating the simple action of drawing two dots above existing circles on fields, was so that anyone could recreate them. Making it something anyone could own and use to inspire more young girls in their own communities.” 

The initiative launched with Onyx FC, the United Arab Emirate's first and only female owned and operated soccer team.


Soon after, however, other replicas appeared across Dubai—on basketball courts, beach football pitches, ice hockey rinks and more. Now, Havas is working on spreading the campaign across the Middle East through partnerships with regional clubs, national federations, pro leagues and even training programs at a school level through the remainder of the year. 


“With every new female field that is created, our message becomes stronger, turning a simple Arabic letter into a symbol of equality and opportunity women in sports everywhere,” Bhattacharya said.