March 2 – FIFA’s choice of Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima as its first global fan ambassador five months before the Women’s World Cup has been lambasted as “tone-deaf” by Moya Dodd, a former FIFA executive committee member and one-time leader of the organisation’s taskforce for the women’s game.
Lima presented one of the trophies at FIFA’s The Best awards in Paris on Monday night and has been described by Gianni Infantino as “approachable and passionate about football”.
But Dodd, a former Australian international, questioned the choice of Lima and referenced the model’s beliefs that “abortion is a crime”.
Dodd, who was part of the co-hosting bid campaign for the Women’s World Cup that takes place in Australia and New Zealand this summer, posted ‘tonedeaf’ on social media and then delivered follow-up questions for the supermodel.
“Will the #FIFA ambassador be delivering any messages about a woman’s right to choose?” she asked.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken in glowing terms about what Lima can bring to the table.
“She lives and breathes ‘futebol’ and that is also why she can be an excellent link between FIFA and fans worldwide,” he said.
But Dodd responded: “When a girl plays football, the world sees her differently. Instead of being complimented on her nice looks or her pretty dress, she is valued for her game-saving tackles and brilliant goalscoring.
“She’s admired for what she can do, rather than how she looks, putting her on a more equal footing with her brothers in a way that can alter the whole trajectory of her life’s ambitions.
“In a FIFA World Cup year, that’s the message that should be ringing loud and true around the world. Where a supermodel fits into this is truly baffling.”
Dodd’s latest criticism of FIFA follows an op-ed she wrote for the Herald and The Age publications in her native Australia four weeks ago where she suggested that FIFA asking LGBTQ players and fans to visit Saudi Arabia was “to send them to a jurisdiction where they are regarded as criminals”.
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