Skip to content
Health, Sports & Psychology

Women’s World Cup primes for kick-off amid corruption allegations at FIFA

Updated Thursday 4th June 2015

Why hasn't the FIFA scandal and the impact it will have on the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup been discussed? Helen Owton explores...

Women playing football Creative commons image Icon David.78 under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license With the breaking news of allegations of corruption at FIFA, everybody seems to be talking about what impact it will have on the upcoming World Cups in Russia and Qatar.

But the next World Cup isn’t in Russia or Qatar, it’s in Canada. The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off on June 6 and the complete lack of discussion of how the crisis at the top of football will affect the competition further trivialises the women’s game. Corruption needs to be eliminated from FIFA, and we must remember in doing so that the organisation is not just responsible for the men’s game, but for women’s football too.

It’s worth noting that while FIFA been accused of receiving bribes totalling US$150m, the body has been simultaneously starving the women’s game of funding and investment.

Achieving against the odds

The seventh women’s World Cup takes place in the same year FIFA celebrates its 111th birthday, although I doubt there will be much celebrating going on in light of the recent arrests. It’s actually quite surprising to realise that the first men’s World Cup was staged in 1930, which means that in 85 years there have been just seven women’s competitions.

This is perhaps no surprise, given that in 1921, Britain’s Football Association banned women’s football altogether “in light of complaints made” about the problems they could experience as a result of playing.

In this century, FIFA has shown its blasé attitude towards women footballers by making them play on artificial turf for all their World Cup games, despite the face that no one would dream of making male players do the same. As US footballer Megan Rapinoe has argued:

FIFA made a $338m profit on the 2014 Men’s World Cup. To say that it’s not logistically possible to install real grass at all the stadiums is not acceptable.

There is no doubt that this will have an impact on the the games played, which could play into pre-established prejudices against the quality of women’s football. How are women supposed to prove that they can play just as well as the men (if not better) if it’s literally not a level playing field?

 

Winnipeg stadium: not-so-hallowed turf. Krazytea, CC BY-SA

 

Despite all this, members of the English women’s team certainly seems to be campaigning successfully to receive the attention they deserve. It’s also encouraging that the Canadian Soccer Association and Canada’s sports minister have already responded to the allegations made against FIFA and are making attempts to prevent this news negatively affecting the Women’s World Cup. Indeed, Canada is a world leader in the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality.

Women’s football is still an arena that highlights women’s quest for equality. As the UN says, “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”. That applies as much on the football field as is does anywhere else.

Once again, women are forced to achieve against adversity to prove to the world that they can achieve success no matter what barriers – be they artificial turf, a breaking news story about corruption, lack of investment or negative public perception – are imposed on them.

The Conversation

Helen Owton is Lecturer in Sport & Fitness at The Open University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Beyond the WAG Creative commons image Icon article icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Beyond the WAG

Will women have the chance to be more than prostitutes and WAGs at the 2014 World Cup?

Article
How women changed the world Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Stephen Collins activity icon

History & The Arts 

How women changed the world

Who wrote the first novel over 1000 years ago? Who disguised herself as a man to explore the new world? Take this interactive world tour to discover the stories the history books left out. 

Activity
World Religion Day Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: CaseJustin | Dreamstime.com article icon

History & The Arts 

World Religion Day

As part of World Religion Day's aim to promote understanding of different faiths, we have compiled a great range of resources on religions and themes.  

Article
Are things changing in world rugby? Creative commons image Icon Landrover [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr Creative Commons under Creative-Commons license article icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Are things changing in world rugby?

The Rugby World Cup 2015 - plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose? Kath Woodward discusses the social side of sport.

Article
Rugby World Cup 2015 Creative commons image Icon By Stewart Baird [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr Creative Commons under Creative-Commons license article icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Rugby World Cup 2015

Learn more as you enjoy the 2015 Rugby World Cup

Article
World-changing women: Download your free booklet of postcards Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

History & The Arts 

World-changing women: Download your free booklet of postcards

Download your free world-changing women booklet of postcards to accompany the BBC Two series The Ascent of Woman.  

Article
World-Changing Women: The Biographies Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Public Domain article icon

History & The Arts 

World-Changing Women: The Biographies

Delve through these courageous tales of women who changed the world and read the full story the history books left out.

Article
World-Changing Women: Christine de Pizan Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Public Domain article icon

History & The Arts 

World-Changing Women: Christine de Pizan

When Christine de Pizan became widowed in her mid-twenties, she supported her extended family by becoming one of the first female writers in Europe. Find out more about her life...

Article
World-Changing Women: Cynisca Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Public Domain article icon

History & The Arts 

World-Changing Women: Cynisca

Spartan females had much more freedom than other women in the ancient world; this allowed Cynisca of Sparta to win the Olympics twice. Find out more about her victories here...

Article