Former FIFA council member Moya Dodd has criticized the organization for being “deaf” after she named the supermodel as the inaugural global ambassador for the Women’s World Cup.
Brazilian model Adriana Lima was selected by FIFA to “develop, promote and participate in several global initiatives” ahead of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
Dodd, former leader of FIFA’s women’s soccer task force, believes model Victoria’s new role is bad for football promotion and questions Lima’s place in plans to change the perception of women in sport.
Posting on Twitter, Dodd wrote: “Seriously #FIFA, is this the fan engagement ambassador we need as we get closer? #tonedeaf.’
She then reinforced her point of view in a lengthy statement on her LinkedIN account. The caption read: “When a girl plays soccer, the world sees her differently.
Adriana Lima (left) seems to have a good relationship with FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right)
Brazilian model Victoria Secret was tapped for the role ahead of this year’s tournament
Former FIFA Executive Council member Moya Dodd criticized the appointment
“Instead of complimenting her good looks or beautiful dress, she is praised for her match-saving tackles and brilliant goal-scoring.
“She is admired for what she can DO rather than what she looks like, which puts her on par with her brothers in a way that could change the entire trajectory of her ambitions in life.
Lima was on the scene announcing the winners of the FIFA “The Best” awards in Paris on Monday night, where the England duo took home awards in the women’s categories.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino defended the decision to give the 41-year-old fashion icon such an important role.
“When you meet Adriana, you immediately feel her warmth, friendliness and how approachable and passionate she is about our game,” Infantino said in a FIFA statement.
“She lives and breathes football and therefore can be the perfect link between FIFA and fans around the world.”
Despite these claims, a look back at Lima’s Twitter posts makes no reference to football other than her announcement of a new role, and does not show the supermodel attending any football game or being involved in the sport in any way.
Dodd also criticized Lima’s previously expressed views on abortion, where she stated in a 2006 interview with GQ magazine that the act was a “crime”. The modeling publicist has since explained that her view has changed.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino defended the decision to appoint Lima as an ambassador
Lima attended the FIFA Best Awards ceremony in Paris on Monday night
Former FIFA director Dodd continued: “At first, the model’s public image seemed oddly fitting for an organization that claims to want to empower girls and women, and whose president needs to be the ‘vanguard’ in promoting gender equality (yes, it is in FIFA Governance Regulations).
“But generalizations aside, a quick Wikicheck check showed that this model was particularly notorious for eating and drinking on a crash diet and for believing abortion was a crime.
“Losing 8 pounds (or about 3.5 kilograms) in 9 days doesn’t sound safe at all; nor is it in line with the healthy “athlete’s mind” it refers to.
“I asked if the FIFA ambassador would be delivering messages on body shape, wellness and healthy eating; a woman’s right to choose? Dodd said.
Her questioning of Lima’s new position was backed up by statements from other professional organizations that shared similar concerns.
Gen Dohrmann, president of Women Sport Australia, argued that the face of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand should be an athlete like two-time Women’s World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe.
Gen Dohrmann, president of Women Sport Australia, believes someone like Megan Rapinoe from the US (pictured) would be better suited for the role
“It’s definitely a different take on the men’s game,” Dohrmann said.
“You would see Cristiano Ronaldo as the poster boy for the men’s World Cup, so why do we need a supermodel when we can choose Meg Rapinoe, Sam Kerr or someone with international recognition in the sport we actually promote?
“This is a role model that should be at the forefront of this campaign.”
Football Australia’s former head of corporate affairs, Benita Mersiades, also criticized FIFA for being “out of touch”, with Lima’s role showing the body “hasn’t changed”.