Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the U.S. national soccer team, slammed the FIFA decision to schedule three soccer finals on the same day.
On Sunday, just a couple of hours after the U.S. and the Netherlands team play in the Women’s World Cup final in France, Brazil or Peru would meet for the Copa America, South America’s men’s soccer tournament. In addition to that, at night, the U.S. team would play against Mexico for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the men’s title of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Rapinoe, who is famous for her plain-speaking, said she found it “ridiculous and disappointing” that the women’s team would have to share the spotlight with their male counterparts on Sunday.
FIFA fired back, explaining that there was nothing wrong in scheduling three finals in a day. Moreover, as FIFA pointed out, the timetables were subject of a long and comprehensive process, in which all the interested parties took part.
In the governing body’s view, it would even boost the viewers’ interest in soccer. FIFA described the coincidence as a “rare and exciting occurrence.”
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani was also disappointed by the news. Speaking with The New York Times, Montagliani commented that the schedule was due to an administrative error.
The former soccer player Aly Wagner asserted it was disturbing that the Women’s World Cup does not have its a dedicated day on the TV to celebrate the talent and the accomplishments of the female athletes.
As for the advertisers, they did not think that the schedule would affect viewership. Ricardo Fort, who is in charge of global sponsorship at The Coca-Cola Co., one of the main sponsors of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, said the company was sure the female finale would bring a lot of people in front of the TV.
However, for the U.S. women’s team, who are actively engaged in a battle for equal pay, the three finals are just another proof of how FIFA downgrades the women’s soccer.
At the same time, it became clear earlier this week that Washington would send a low-key delegation to the Women’s World Cup final in France Sunday.
President Trump already announced that Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley would lead a presidential delegation to the final play in Lyon, France.
Under President Obama’s administration, the delegation to the 2015 Women’s World Cup included higher profile officials, such as Vice President Joe Biden and his spouse, Jill Biden.
The decision comes after a public feud between the President and Megan Rapinoe earlier this month. In an interview with the specialized soccer magazine Eight by Eight, Rapinoe said that she was not going to the ”f—ing White House” even she was invited.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Megan Rapinoe’s statement that it is offensive for the women’s team to share their big day with two other male’s finals?