Dodd attacks FIFA's 'truly baffling' move as Infantino backs ambassador role for supermodel Adriana Lima

By Sports Desk March 02, 2023

FIFA has been criticised by a prominent former Australia footballer after appointing Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima as a global fan ambassador ahead of the Women's World Cup.

Moya Dodd, a former member of the FIFA executive committee, said it was a "truly baffling" decision that was "tone deaf".

World governing body FIFA announced Lima's role on Monday, saying the 41-year-old would "develop, promote and participate in several global initiatives involving fans from all over the world!".

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "When you get to meet Adriana, you feel right away her warmth, kindness, and how approachable and passionate she is about our game. She lives and breathes 'futebol' and that is also why she can be an excellent link between FIFA and fans worldwide."

However, Dodd questioned why FIFA should choose a model who has been quoted talking about the professional benefits of crash-dieting in the past, and who in a 2006 GQ interview was reported as saying she considered abortion "a crime".

Dodd's initial response to FIFA's move was to write: "Seriously, #FIFA, is this the fan engagement ambassador we need as the @FIFAWWC approaches? #tonedeaf".

She posted that message on Twitter alongside a screenshot of Lima's Twitter profile, which features the model in a near-naked pose.

Dodd added: "#FIFA please say you’re not paying this supermodel more than the players get for being at the @FIFAWWC".

In a follow-up post on LinkedIn, Dodd added how she believed Lima's "public image", based on her Twitter profile pictures, "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".

Dodd went on to say: "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?

"And it made me wonder: 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?

"Because when a girl plays football, the world sees her differently. 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."

Dodd added that, given this is a World Cup 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."

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the Women's World Cup in July and August, and there have already been concerns and complaints raised in both countries about the prospect of the Visit Saudi tourism authority being reportedly lined up by FIFA as a major sponsor of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia has faced criticism from human rights groups over its attitudes towards women and LGBTQ+ individuals.

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