Fifa’s appointment of supermodel Adriana Lima as its global fan ambassador five months before the Women’s World Cup has been criticised as “tone deaf” by the former Fifa council member Moya Dodd.
Fifa said the Brazilian Lima will “develop, promote and participate in global initiatives” before this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand but Dodd, a former international player for the Matildas, says it sends the wrong message to players and fans.
“When a girl plays football, the world sees her differently,” Dodd, who was one of the first women to serve on the Fifa council, said in a post on LinkedIn on Wednesday.
“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 World Cup year, that’s the message that should be ringing loud and true around the world. Where a supermodel fits into this is truly baffling.”
Dodd said Fifa’s appointment of Lima “looked an odd fit for an organisation 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,” she added.
“What will this ambassador represent to the large and growing population of aspirational women’s football players and fans who love the game because it shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?”
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said Lima “lives and breathes futebol” and said she can be an “excellent link between Fifa and fans worldwide”.