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Criticism for FIFA over World Cup role for supermodel Adriana Lima

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand later this year, with Lima acting as fan ambassador.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand later this year, with Lima acting as fan ambassador.

FIFA has been a target for criticism throughout the week, with The Best FIFA Awards drawing controversy for the leading role played by so many of Argentina’s World Cup winners (Lionel Messi, Dibu Martínez and Lionel Scaloni won the men’s individual awards) and the lack of recognition for Real Madrid, who won the Champions League - and LaLiga - after a serious of epic comebacks in the knockout rounds.

In Australia, meanwhile, there has been a huge reaction to FIFA’s decision to name Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima as the first-ever FIFA Global Fan Ambassador ahead of the Women’s World Cup, which will take place in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August later this year. Criticism has come from World Cup organisers, former players and politicians alike.

Lima role “upsetting”, FIFA “out of touch”

Former Australian international Moya Dodd who is now part of the World Cup organising committee, criticised the leaders of the world soccer’s governing body: “When a girl plays soccer, the world sees her differently. Instead of praising her for her beauty or her pretty dress, praise her for her goal-saving tackles and brilliant shots on goal. In a World Cup year, that message should be heard loud and clear around the world. For a supermodel to be take the role is really upsetting”, she said.

Benita Mersiades, who was part of the management team for the World Cup bid, went even further. “The fact that FIFA has chosen Ms. Lima as a global fan ambassador shows how out of touch FIFA is from soccer fans and how little it has changed”, she fumed.

The president of Women Sport Australia, Gen Dohrmann, also came down hard on FIFA for the way they differed in promoting the men’s and women’s World Cups. “Cristiano Ronaldo is the biggest star of the men’s World Cup. Why do we need a supermodel when we have Meghan Rapinoe, Sam Kerr and other big stars of the sport we’re trying to promote?” she asked.

Infantino: Lima “lives and breathes soccer”

Infantino defended himself against the accusations, stressing that the model was a “strong link between FIFA and fans around the world.” For the Swiss, Lima “lives and breathes soccer.”

The Brazilian is a well-known soccer fan, but has little connection to either of the host countries and has never worked in the world of soccer in the past. She, did, however, attend Monday’s Best Awards, which took place hours after her new role was revealed.


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