FIFA president Sepp Blatter had some not-so-uplifting remarks on the eve of the Womens U20 World Cup about the current state of women in soccer, according to an article in the British newspaper The Guardian.
The article said Blatter was asked at a press conference in Toronto that marked the start of women's tournament to talk about FIFA's plans to address gender equality. He told reporters:
'Football is very macho,' Blatter answered. 'It’s so difficult to accept [women] in the game. Not playing the game, but in the governance.'
Blatter then compared the level of equality in soccer's governance structure unfavorably to other major sports.
'It’s easy in basketball, it’s easy in volleyball, it’s easy in athletics. It is no problem. But in football, I don’t know.'
Blatter went on to say that he asked the soccer confederations, which nominate members of FIFA's executive committee, to nominate "at least one lady." They did, selecting Burundi's Lydia Nsekera, who is presently serving a four-year term.
FIFA made a notable drive for social equality earlier this year when it took a public stance against racism throughout the duration of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It posted electronic billboards in stadiums during games imploring fans to "Say No To Racism." Blatter told the Associated Press after the completion of the 2014 World Cup, however, "I am not at all happy with the way we fought against racism."
Blatter's remarks come as the San Antonio Spurs became the first team in NBA history to hire a female assistant coach.
- Will Green