After female players were excluded from a pre-competition training camp for the tournament’s officials, FIFA found itself in a sexism controversy on the eve of the World Cup.
Clubs in Sydney were requested to send male players aged 15 plus’ to a series of World Cup match officials’ training sessions at Sydney’s Olympic Park in emails from FIFA’s Refereeing Division.
Until 20 August, the day of the World Cup final, the daily meetings for FIFA’s officiating delegation are scheduled to continue.
At least one Sydney-based club brought its women’s squad to the Olympic Park earlier this week to provide assistance, but according to Mail Sport, FIFA officials mostly disregarded the players, who finally left without being granted the chance to play.
According to a source who spoke to Mail Sport, “Only FIFA would ask for male-only players to help prepare referees for a women’s World Cup.”
“Our team lost, and they only started the matches with men or boys,” a fan said. The ladies were instructed to wait and serve as stand-ins. They lingered for two hours before leaving because they were tired of being ignored.
In the email to clubs, it is stated that “FIFA requires that male players who are 15 years of age and above and who have a good level of football skill be used for daily training activities,” but it does not explain why this seems to be discriminatory.
FIFA requested around 50 participants every day and paid each one about £25 in compensation for participating in the two-and-a-half-hour session.