By Paul Nicholson
November 3 – You couldn’t make this up. FIFA, under fire in this publication last month via its women’s rankings that showed a lack of women’s development in nations where three Confederation presidents reign, has in the latest edition of its FIFA 1904 magazine not bothered to even publish the women’s rankings page. The men’s rankings were, of course, published.
If the women needed any confirmation that in FIFA’s world the word ‘equality’ might just be a word rather than a philosophy, then this would be a manifestation of that.
The women’s rankings without doubt highlight an embarrassment to FIFA’s generally white male bigwigs (refrain from writing bigdicks), but leaving the rankings out altogether (to save face?) seems like a refusal to acknowledge that women are actually playing ‘their’ proprietorially enforced game, and playing it seriously, competitively and professionally.
Front cover of FIFA’s magazine features a gorgeous looking Ronaldo seated on a throne, not unlike the Queen’s in whose country the $7 million extravaganza was obsequiously hosted. $7 million well spent? I bet none of FIFA’s federations dare question the logic of this in FIFA’s austere times.
Inside pictures are dominated by lots of players with their wives, of course a smattering of FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s much-loved legends and two pictures featuring representatives from the women’s game. Plus one of Catherine Zeta-Jones – nice bit of totty for the old boys from the film business (apparently she might support Swansea City, and presumably LA Galaxy).
Last month FIFA’s women’s rankings showed three out of six confederation leaders – Ahmad Ahmad (CAF president), Alejandro Dominguez (Conmebol president) and David Chung (OFC president) – have no meaningful international women’s teams in their own countries of Madagascar, Paraguay and Papua New Guinea where they are also presidents of their national federations.
US striker Megan Rapinoe’s claim that FIFA is “old, male and stale” was a comment triggered by disbelief over FIFA’s final nominations for its top female player award that disrespected the women’s game with the selection of a US college player from Venezuela in the final three of the nominations.
FIFA of course put up a defence of its process, but it was scarcely believable – or perhaps their men’s list was just neglect in its lack of nominations from the men’s college game in the US.
So is FIFA really just paying lipservice to the women’s game and its development? This question was asked before. It seems that they are still on a learning curve as regards equality. That would be the generous reading of this. More worrying for the women’s game is that they might not be on a learning curve at all.
Worth a read is this excellent blog written last month by Jen O’Neill of Shekicks magazine https://shekicks.net/2017/10/23/fifas-best-sadly-showcases-side-worst/
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org