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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 2023

Nilla Fischer: “We had to show our genitalia to be allowed to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup”

Former Sweden defender Fischer has revealed a new FIFA scandal ahead of the Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.

Update:
Nilla Fischer se retira de la selección de Suecia.
Svensk Fotboll

Just weeks before the Women’s World Cup 2023 gets underway in Australia and New Zealand, FIFA have been hit by another scandal in connection to the women’s game. Ex-Sweden international Nilla Fischer has revealed in her autobiography the way in which players were forced to ‘prove’ that they were female in order to play at the 2011 World Cup in Germany. According to the former defender, all members of the roster were instructed to show to their genitalia to national team’s medical staff.

“How did we get to this?”

“We were told not to shave ‘down there’ for the next few days and to show our genitalia to the doctor. Nobody understands why we had to shave, but we did as we were told. We all thought, ‘how did we get to this? ‘Why are we being forced to do this now?’

“We were told not to shave ‘down there’ for the next few days...”

Ex-Sweden defender Nilla Fischer

‘There have to be other ways to do it’. ‘Should we refuse?’ At the same time, nobody wanted to jeopardise their chance of playing in a World Cup. We just had to do that sh*t… as humiliating as it was,” she recalled.

“Humiliating”, “extremely strange” and “unpleasant”

In an interview with the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Fischer described what the players were told to do in more detail. “I understood what I had to do. I quickly pulled down my training shorts and underwear at the same time. The physio nodded and said ‘yes’, and then looked at the doctor who had his back to me. He made a note and moved down the hall to knock on the next door,” he said.

Sweden have played in every edition of the Women's World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1991.
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Sweden have played in every edition of the Women's World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1991. Simon Hastegã.rd/Bildbyran via

“I quickly pulled down my training shorts and underwear at the same time. The physio nodded and said ‘yes’...”

Ex-Sweden defender Nilla Fischer

“When everyone in our team had been ‘examined’, and by that I mean they had shown their vaginas, the doctor was able to confirm that the Swedish women’s soccer team was made up only of women,” Fischer explains. “We had a very safe environment in that team. So it was the best place to do it. But it was an extremely strange situation and, in general, it was not a pleasant way to do it,” he said.

Equatorial Guinea rumours call FIFA into action

The ‘examinations’ came as a result of rumours that some men had played for Equatorial Guinea’s women’s national team. Two weeks before the 2011 World Cup began, FIFA issued its gender recognition policies, which required teams to sign a declaration which ensure that the players selected to play were “of an appropriate gender”. The rules stated: “It is up to each participating member association to ensure the correct gender of all players by carrying out active research…”.

“FIFA don’t do it to be mean to anyone”

Other methods exit, such as the buccal swab test, which has been used for decades. Mats Börjesson, Sweden’s doctor in 2011, admitted that FIFA demanded ‘examinations’ be carried out immediately following speculations surrounding several Equatorial Guinea players.

“FIFA don’t do these things to be mean to anyone,” Börjesson said. “The sports world has tried to create justice for girls so they don’t train their whole lives and then someone else who has an unfair advantage comes in to take their place”. Nevertheless, perhaps a more appropriate form of ‘testing’ would have been wise...