FIFA came under fire earlier this week for its appointment of supermodel Adriana Lima as its global fan ambassador.
The soccer world’s governing body said Lima’s role will be to develop, promote and participate in several initiatives around the world to help grow soccer.
“When you get to meet Adriana, you feel right away her warmth, kindness, and how approachable and passionate she is about our game,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a news release. “She lives and breathes ‘futebol’ and that is also why she can be an excellent link between FIFA and fans worldwide.”
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However, not everyone in the soccer world was pleased with FIFA’s decision to appoint Lima.
Moya Dodd, a former Australian soccer star who played in FIFA’s first women’s world tournament and later became a high-ranking soccer executive at FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and Football Federation of Australia, blasted the organization for Lima’s appointment.
Dodd criticized the move as “tonedeaf” and was left “baffled” by FIFA’s marketing strategy. Dodd would expand on those thoughts in a LinkedIn post.
“At the outset, the model’s public image (see twitter graphic below) looked an odd fit for an organisation that says it wants to empower girls and women, and whose President is required to be ‘a vanguard’ for promoting gender equality (yes, that’s in the FIFA Governance Regulations),” Dodd wrote.
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“But beyond generalizations, a quick Wikicheck showed that this model specifically was known for crash-diet eating & drinking, and for believing that abortion is a crime. Losing 8 pounds (that’s about 3.5 kilos) in 9 days doesn’t sound at all safe; nor is it consistent with a healthy ‘athlete’s mind’ which she references.
“I asked whether the FIFA ambassador will be delivering messages on body image, wellbeing and healthy eating; or on a woman’s right to choose?”
Dodd wondered how Lima would grow the game.
“Because when a girl plays football, the world sees her differently,” Dodd added. “Instead of being complimented on her nice looks or her pretty dress, she is valued for her game-saving tackles and brilliant goal-scoring. She’s admired for what she can DO, rather than how she looks, putting her on a more equal footing with her brothers in a way that can alter the whole trajectory of her life’s ambitions.
“In a FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ year, that’s the message that should be ringing loud and true around the world. Where a super-model fits into this is truly baffling.”
Lima called the appointment a “great honor” in a statement on social media.
“As a true ‘brasileira’, futebol is in my blood! It is a great honor to be part of the FIFA Family, the FIFAMILY as we call it! As a fan myself, I hope to connect at a greater level this family to the life of this beautiful sport: the fans! Welcome to FIFAN,” she wrote.
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FIFA didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment in regard to Dodd’s criticism.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to begin on July 20.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.