FIFA ‘deaf’ for appointing model as ambassador, says former women’s international

(CNN) FIFA’s decision to appoint Brazilian model Adriana Lima as their Global Fan Ambassador ahead of the Women’s World Cup has been called “deaf” and “really confusing” by former Australia international Moya Dodd.

Football’s world governing body announced on Monday that Lima, a former Victoria’s Secret model, will “develop, promote and participate in several global initiatives involving fans around the world”, while FIFA President Gianni Infantino said said the 41-year-old Brazilian “lives and breathes ‘futebol.'”

Dodd, the former vice-captain of Australia’s women’s soccer team, said Wednesday that Lima’s public image “seemed strange for an organization that says it wants to empower girls and women, and whose president must be ‘a vanguard’ to promote gender equality (yes, that’s in the FIFA Governance Regulations).”

Dodd, who previously led Fifa’s women’s football task force, wrote on Linkedin: “[W]hen a girl plays football, the world sees her differently. Instead of being complimented for her good looks or her pretty dress, she is appreciated for her life-saving tackles and brilliant goalscoring.

“She is admired for what she can DO, rather than how she looks, putting her on an equal footing with her brothers in a way that can alter the entire trajectory of her life’s ambitions.

Dodd said that when a girl plays football, “she’s admired for what she can DO, rather than how she looks”.

A member of FIFA’s executive committee from 2013 to 2016, Dodd expanded on his comments, adding that his own research on Lima “showed that this pattern was specifically known for eating and drinking on an emergency diet”, and referenced to a 2006 GQ article, where the Brazilian allegedly declared abortion a crime.

“What will this ambassador mean to the large and growing population of ambitious #women’s football players and fans who love the game, as it shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?” Dodd asked.

Lima publicist Laurent Boye said the model’s stance has changed since she made the comments 17 years ago.

“We can proudly say that Ms. Lima has been promoting a healthy lifestyle for several years and, like many people, her stance on many LGBTQIA+ and women’s issues has evolved and she is seen as an ally,” Boye said in a statement. statement, Reuters news agency reported. .

In a follow-up post, Dodd said Lima’s views on abortion had still not been addressed.

“To be clear, there’s no criticism of Lima’s personal choice – everyone should have that right. But exposing abortion as a crime means you think those who make a different choice should be treated like criminals and punished accordingly.

“It’s a terrifying prospect, and not compatible with women’s empowerment or their right to control their own bodies and futures, in my humble opinion,” Dodd wrote.

CNN has contacted FIFA for further comment.

In a statement on Monday, Lima said she was “very grateful and honored to have been chosen by FIFA to be the first Global Fan Ambassador and to have been given such a platform to help fans connect even more Game”.

Ouarda Coussay, a representative for model management agency Elite World Group, which represents Lima, declined to comment further when contacted by CNN.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup takes place from July 20 to August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

CNN’s Sammy Mngqosini contributed reporting.

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