FIFA’s appointment of supermodel as fan ambassador in Women’s World Cup year criticised

FIFA’s appointment of supermod­el, Adriana Lima, as its first global fan ambassador five months before the Women’s World Cup is “tone deaf”, says former FIFA council mem­ber, Moya Dodd.

Brazilian Lima will “develop, promote and participate in global initiatives” before the World Cup, which starts on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

FIFA president ,Gianni Infantino, said Lima “lives and breathes ‘futebol.’”

“When a girl plays football, the world sees her differently,” Dodd said.

“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, a former Australia internation­al, who served on the committee for Australia and New Zealand’s successful bid to co-host the World Cup, said Lima’s public image was an “odd fit for an organisation that says it wants to empower girls and women”.

“I asked whether the FIFA ambassa­dor will be delivering messages on body image, wellbeing and healthy eating,” Dodd added in a post on LinkedIn on Wednesday.

“What will this ambassador represent to the large and growing population of aspirational #women football players and fans who love the game because (it) shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?”

Dodd, a member of the FIFA Coun­cil from 2013 to 2016, also referred to comments Lima made in a 2006 inter­view with GQ maga­zine, in which she said abortion was “a crime.”

Lima’s publicist, Laurent Boye, said the model’s stance had changed: “We can proudly say that Ms Lima has been promot­ing a healthy lifestyle for several years and like many people, her position on many LGBTQIA+ and women issues has evolved and she is considered an ally.”

In the statement announcing Lima’s appointment, Infantino said: “When you get to meet Adriana, you feel right away her warmth, kindness,how ap­proachable and passionate she is about our game.

“She lives and breathes ‘futebol’ and that is also why she can be an excellent link between Fifa and fans worldwide.” — BBC

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