According to former FIFA Council member Moya Dodd, FIFA’s choice of supermodel Adriana Lima as its global fan ambassador during a Women’s World Cup year is “baffling” and sends the incorrect message to players and supporters.
The governing organisation said in a statement on Monday: “As FIFA’s first global fan ambassador, Brazilian Lima will “create, promote and participate in many worldwide initiatives.”
Former international player and Australian Moya Dodd, who was a member of the committee behind Australia and New Zealand’s successful World Cup bid, has called Lima’s selection less than five months prior to the major competition “tone deaf.”
Dodd, a well-known supporter of women’s soccer, played 24 times for Australia between 1986 and 1995 and participated in the FIFA women’s invitational tournament in 1988, three years before the first Women’s World Cup.
Dodd comments on decision of FIFA
One of the first women to hold a position on FIFA’s governing body, Dodd, expressed her opinion by posting on LinkedIn on Wednesday.
The 57-year-old said: “At the outset, the model’s public image looked an odd fit for an organization that says it wants to empower girls and women,”
“I asked whether the FIFA ambassador will be delivering messages on body image, wellbeing and healthy eating.”
“What will this ambassador represent to the large and growing population of aspirational #womensfootball players and fans who love the game because (it) shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?”
The Australian served on the FIFA Council from 2013 to 2016. Dodd also brought up Lima’s statements in a 2006 interview with the magazine GQ, in which she called abortion “a crime.”
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Laurent Boye, Lima’s publicist, claimed that the model’s position had evolved in the 17 years after she made such remarks.
“We can proudly say that Ms Lima has been promoting a healthy lifestyle for several years and like many people, her position on many LGBTQIA+ and women issues has evolved and she is considered an ally,” Boye said in a statement.
However, Dodd recently criticised FIFA for failing to comprehend women’s soccer in the wake of news that Saudi Arabia’s tourist body would sponsor the World Cup from July 20 to August 20.