FIFA is Sexist: An Analysis on Treatment of the Women’s National Soccer Team

ap_carli-lloyd-_ap-photo1-640x426  For my Wikipedia page, I decided to write about a soccer ball. Before my peers judge my topic choice, hear me out. This ball is not any ordinary ten dollar soccer ball from Dick’s Sporting Goods, it is the Adidas conext15, and cost around $160. What makes this ball special is the fact that it is the official game ball of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. I found this ball so intriguing because I wondered why are two different balls used for the women’s and men’s world cups. Is it because of money or type of ball? After heavily researching this question I discovered that the Adidas conext15 is in fact lighter than the Brazuca, the 2014 official match ball. This led me to wonder what other differences there are in men’s and women’s professional soccer. I relied on google to find the answer.

I typed in “what are the differences between men and women’s professional soccer”, and this popped up.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.27.53 PMAs you can see from these results, the majority of links pertain to a pay gap between the winning women’s national team and the men’s national team. At a first glance this pay gap appears somewhat sexist and mirrors modern day problems in the work force of women being paid less than men. I decided to dig a little deeper about this pay gap. I typed in pay gap between men and women’s national team and an article titled, “FIFA PAYING WOMEN’S WORLD CUP VICTORS LESS THAN MALE LOSERS NOT SEXISM, JUST BASIC MATH” by Daniel J Flynn grabbed my attention. Although I could not find any information about the author, his credibility is reinforced by the sources he pulled from (the Atlantic, and the Associated Press) and the heavy use of logos when citing monetary and attendance statistics pulled from the 2011, 2014, and 2015 World Cups. What Flynn discovers is that although “FIFA will pay the U.S. women’s championship four times less than the men’s team that lost in the first round,” this large pay gap is not the result of FIFA purposefully acting sexist against women. The reason for this pay gap is the result of women generating a small fraction of the revenue generated by the men during the World Cup.

The explanation of the pay gap does not mean FIFA is in the clear. In fact, in the last paragraph of Flynn’s article he mentions that FIFA forced the women to play on artificial turf in Canada while the men were given the privilege to play on grass. To some who have not played on both surfaces you may ask, “So what?” The legs in the picture to the left belong to US So whatwomen’s national player Sydney Leroux, and she had this to say about the use of artificial turf in the world cup.

“Between men and women… this is not equal. For us to be playing the biggest  tournament for women’s soccer on artificial grass is unacceptable. The game is completely different. It’s fake. So you don’t know how it’s gonna bounce. You don’t know how the ball is gonna run. It’s terrible for your body. The constant pounding. You’re running pretty much on cement. … We’re the guinea pigs.”

This passage contains heavy ethos and pathos because Leroux is directly affected by the field and evoked sympathy and anger that women who play professionally have to endure playing on a surface that was potentially dangerous. Artificial turf may allow for games to go on during a rainy season, but should not be used on a world cup level.  Also artificial turf can reach up to120 degrees. Cleats have been known to melt on the field at this temperature during play.

FIFA is sexist, and the organization continues to enforce this statement with the maltreatment of women’s soccer. Even FIFA’s former president Sepp Blatter, who had to step down due to corruption charges, has been quoted suggesting the women should compete in “tighter shorts” and “more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball.” If FIFA wants this new uniform style they may as well hire models for each national team, because apparently the actual skill of the players is outweighed by their looks, and sexual appeal.


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