U.S. women’s national team forward Alex Morgan is one of the best and most recognisable players in the world going into the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
But when she was one of the three finalists for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2012, FIFA president Sepp Blatter didn’t even know who was she, Morgan told Time.
“I have experienced sexism multiple times, and I’m sure I will a lot more. I feel like I’m fighting for female athletes. At the FIFA World Player of the Year event, FIFA executives and FIFA president Sepp Blatter didn’t know who I was. And I was being honored as top three in the world. That was pretty shocking.”
This isn’t the first time Blatter, who recently called himself “a godfather” of women’s soccer, has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the women’s game. In 2004 Blatter suggested female soccer players should wear tighter shorts in order to generate more publicity.
“Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men — such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?”
More recently, players around the world were in an uproar over the use of artificial turf, instead of grass, at the Women’s World Cup. Many players believe playing on artificial turf leads to more injuries and slows down the tempo of the game.
No men’s World Cup has ever been played on artificial turf. The women originally planned to sue FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, believing they were being discriminated against based on their gender, before ultimately deciding to drop the suit in order to focus on the event.
While Morgan continues to prepare with the U.S. national team, Blatter is currently running for a fifth term as FIFA’s president. Elections will be held on May 29.
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