Chances are, if you’re a woman and you’ve had much contact with the leadership of FIFA, you have a story to tell about sexism and soccer’s world governing body.
U.S. forward Abby Wambach tells one from the time she and her now-wife, Sarah Huffman, were backstage in a VIP room in January 2013 before the World Player of the Year awards gala in Zurich, Switzerland. “[FIFA president] Sepp Blatter came into our little area, and he walked straight up to Sarah and thought she was [Brazilian star] Marta,” says Wambach.
“Marta!” Blatter said, hugging a bewildered Huffman, who doesn’t look much like Marta. “You are the best! The very best!”
“He had no idea who Marta was, and she’s won the award five times,” says Wambach. “For me, that’s just a slap in the face because it shows he doesn’t really care about the women’s game.”
Former U.S. World Cup winner Julie Foudy tells a story about the time she was part of the globally televised draw for the men’s 1998 World Cup in Marseille, France. Blatter said something about her onstage in French. “I don’t speak French,” says Foudy, “but when I got off the stage two women who worked for FIFA were kind of angry.”
“Why are you angry?” Foudy asked them.
“We don’t like what he just said about you,” said one.
“What did he say?”
“That they brought you here because you looked good—and nothing about your football.”
In terms of financial support, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will only receive $15 million in federal funding from Ottawa as existing facilities and stadiums, without any need for renovations, will be used. In comparison, the FIFA men’s tournaments cost billions of dollars to fund, largely because new stadiums and improved transportation infrastructure are required to host the month-long event. The 2014 Men’s World Cup in Brazil racked up a bill of $15 billion USD. Nevertheless, laying down grass in all six stadiums for the Women’s World Cup in Canada is estimated to only cost approximately $1.5 million.
Evidently, the men’s World Cup tournament is of a larger scale because it garners a broader international following. But why shouldn’t the women’s World Cup gain the same level of support and attention?
The Canadian women’s team is currently ranked ninth in the world. They have qualified for every World Cup since 1995 and did our nation proud by bringing home the Olympic bronze medal in 2012. The men’s team has not been to the World Cup since 1986.
And having played college soccer in the NCAA/now coaching back in Ontario = I can attest to the massive growth in women’s soccer in Canada… young and old. Unfortunately - even the U12 and U16 squads I coach already see the discrimination and sexism in terms of ever having a future in the game.
This discrimination has more to do with FIFA (and Blatter…who has proven his sexism/discrimination more than once). Of course the CSA has some blame in this - but at the end of the day we all know it’s FIFA pulling the strings. It’s a shame you can’t really expect FIFA to care since their president is complicit in various types of discrimination and incompetent at his job.
BTW - Carrie Serwetnyk at Equal Play is doing a wonderful job. (via fiftythreecrimes)
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I love the moment and all, and how we think that was their coming out video. Look at the bigger thing about this and the caption. Ashlyn is saying that she has struggled in life a lot and we all know this. She is saying that she found someone who is special and is the other piece to her puzzle which is her story. No matter what happened tonight you have to think that what she said was inspirational.