Adriana Lima is a model icon - and recently an ambassador for the world football association. While FIFA boss Gianni Infantino praised the appointment, his organization was met with harsh criticism. The choice of model sends the wrong message to players and fans.
What do the luxury underwear manufacturer "Victoria Secret's" and FIFA have in common? Usually nothing. Connections between models and the World Football Association are not particularly common either. Therefore, the criticism of the association's recent appointment to a post is great. Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima is FIFA's first Global Fan Ambassador.
"Seriously FIFA, is this the fan engagement ambassador we need as the [Women's World Cup ed.] approaches?" tweeted Moya Dodd, who is involved in her native Australia's campaign for the Hosting the World Cup is involved. This decision, especially in the year of the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, is "incomprehensible" and sends the wrong message to players and fans, said the former FIFA Executive Committee member. The longtime advocate for women's football posted a glamor photo from Lima's Twitter account, much to her annoyance.
"The model's public image is totally inappropriate for an organization that says it wants to empower girls and women," said Dodd, one of the first women on FIFA's decision-making body, in a Linkedin post. "I asked if the FIFA Ambassador will be delivering messages on body image, well-being and healthy eating." She also complained that there was a growing group of up-and-coming female footballers "who love the game because it shows us what self-determination and equality can look like", but that the now selected ambassador appears to be opposed to this.
The 41-year-old fashion icon will "develop, promote and participate in various initiatives with fans from around the world," FIFA said. "She literally lives and breathes 'Futebol' and that's why she's an excellent link between FIFA and football fans around the world," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino about Lima. Lima had already presented the "FIFA Fan Prize" at the awards ceremony as part of the world footballer election.
Dodd disagrees with Infantino. The former national player expressed general criticism of FIFA. She also thinks it's completely wrong that the Saudi Arabian tourism office is being treated as the official sponsor of the women's World Cup. "I'm honestly baffled by this marketing strategy. First, FIFA wants to send an LGBTQ-friendly audience to 'Visit Saudi,'" Dodd wrote. "And now it's targeting who exactly?"
Lima is also the wrong choice for Dodd because she told GQ magazine in 2006 that abortions were a "crime". Lima's management rejected the criticism. "We are proud to say that Ms. Lima has been an advocate for a healthy lifestyle for several years. Like many other people, her position on many LGBTQIA and women's issues has evolved and is viewed as an ally," Boye said in a statement.
Lima herself said her new role "means the world to me." "I come from a very humble background and I'm a very big football fan," said Lima, who grew up in Salvador da Bahia. "So I'm very grateful and honored to have been named FIFA's first Global Fan Ambassador and given me such a platform to bring the fans even closer to the game."