FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he considers himself a "godfather" of women's soccer within FIFA in an interview with the BBC, according to the Associated Press.
Ahead of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada, Blatter said that the women's game lags behind the men's game, but that this summer's tournament provides an opportunity for women's soccer to grow.
“Women’s football must market itself. It’s a product and the product must have quality," Blatter said, according to the AP. "Now it’s up to the ladies in this World Cup to show that it’s a great event because the television coverage will be done exactly like the FIFA World Cup.”
Though he was FIFA's top administrator when the organization began emphasizing women's soccer in 1988, Blatter's relationship with women's soccer has been controversial. In 2004, he said that female footballers could wear tighter shorts to help boost the popularity of the women's game, while he ignored calls from players leading up to the 2015 World Cup for the tournament to be played on grass rather than artificial turf.
" I consider myself a little bit as a godfather of the organization of women’s football in FIFA," Blatter said, according to the AP.
U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach said this week that FIFA declined an offer from The Scotts Company to install free grass fields for the 2015 Women's World Cup.
Blatter, 79, is currently running for a fifth term as FIFA president.
- Stanley Kay