Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Firing Blancs...

...PSG coach Laurent causes a stir with sexist comments towards a Swedish journalist.

Earlier this month, Blanc addressed journalists in a press conference regarding his current team, Paris St-Germain. When Swedish journo Johanna Franden stepped forward to question his recent decision to change the team's formation, she was met with sexist remarks, mocking and insulting her intelligence.

JF: "You started the season with 4-4-2, but switched to 4-3-3 after a few games..."
LB: "So, women who talk tactics in football, it's so beautful ... I think it's fantastic! You know what 4-3-3 means, right?"
JF: "Yes, that's my profession."
LB: "I mean, there's many ways to play on ... haha, I'm just kidding."

Franden, who works for Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet, has experience of working in Italy, France and Spain covering football. She welcomes the debate over Blanc's remarks with open arms, but insists she doesn't want to gain extra attention and fame from the controversy. 

"I have no ambition to make a name for myself because of a ribald comment I heard on the job and who have grown gigantic entirely on their own and out of my control."

If there is one thing she hopes results from this, it's that attitudes towards females involved in football, are more widely discussed and issues are addressed. His comments aren't the first she's heard of this nature and certainly not the worst, Franden explains in her article here. But if anything is increasingly more apparent, it's that football is still widely regarded as a man's game across the world. Unfortunately, women who venture into football careers, whether journalists/players/coaches etc, are almost expecting and preparing themselves for these varying levels of abuse. If high profile men such as Sepp Blatter and Laurent Blanc can get away with these sexist attitudes, then when will it ever stop!

Monday, 9 December 2013

FIFA yet again fail to relate to the millions of female fans... fresh controversy surrounding the recent World Cup draw in Brazil.

Unfortunately, we are no longer surprised to hear Sepp Blatter linked with sexism in the same sentence anymore. Last week's 2014 World Cup draw sparked fresh controversy regarding Fernanda Lima, a Brazilian model and TV presenter, who was chosen to co-present the show with her husband Rodrigo Hilbert.

Lima's presence on stage in a low-cut gold dress became one of the top Twitter trends throughout the world, which caused outrage amongst female fans who quickly responded with complaints. Nobody is questioning her presenting abilities, but why didn't they chose a female player, manager or media personality related to football. Brazil is one the world's most highly regarded nations in the world of football. The senior mens and womens sides are both successful at international level and lots of fans were surprised five time 'World Player Of The Year' Marta Vieira da Silva wasn't asked to present.

After FIFA was already in the spotlight for accusations of racism, regarding the selection of hosts for the draw, a FIFA spokeswoman strongly denied any allegations of sexism:

"FIFA did not select the draw presenter, nor the artists, nor did we select the dress of Fernanda Lima." 

Regarding the reason the camera appeared to zoom in on Lima's cleavage as she held up a piece of paper, she further added: 
"Close ins are done on all assistants, including Fernanda, as the country paper is drawn."

"FIFA is sorry to hear if anybody took offence of this, but on a personal note as a woman, I would like to say there was nothing disrespectful about her dress."

This story is an unwanted headache for Blatter, who is regularly losing touch with the fans, players and all those associated with football. Women share an increasingly large majority of football spectator and participation statistics across the world.  His history of sexist remarks and FIFA's lack of backing in the women's game is become ever more apparent. Young girls wanting to aspire to be the next Kelly Smith or Mia Hamm, need to see actual representation of their idols on TV, in magazines and at football matches. The world cup draw is watched by millions and it would of been the perfect chance to showcase talent and highlight the need for support in the women's game. Opportunity missed, to say the least!