In a new interview with the BBC, American athlete Megan Rapinoe called FIFA, the world leader of soccer, ‘old, male and stale’.
Recently, the organization placed amateur striker Deyna Castellanos from Venezuela on its shortlist for female player of the year. US midfielder Carli Lloyd and Dutch forward Lieke Martens also made the cut.
‘The award just doesn’t hold a lot of weight when you’ve got someone on the list I’ve never heard of,’ Rapinoe commented.
Castellanos plays for Florida State University, while Lloyd and Martens are both on professional teams. FIFA overlooked several other players.
‘If some random male player who was not even a full professional was nominated, I’m sure [FIFA] would step in for that. It’s disappointing that the same hasn’t been done for us,’ she continued.
‘It signals to us and it signals to the rest of the world that FIFA doesn’t really care.’
The organization responded in a statement. They said they would ‘take this feedback on board in future editions of The Best Awards’.
Only the latest criticism
This is hardly the first time Rapinoe has stood up for her beliefs.
Last year, she took a stand with other professional athletes by kneeling during the anthem.
She also joined four other players in filing a wage discrimination complaint against US Soccer, which is part of FIFA. Female players are paid a fraction of what male players make, despite numerous more titles under their belts.
This year, the US men’s team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The US women’s team won the World Cup in 2015 and the gold in 2012 Olympics.
Female players have also criticized soccer organizations for making them play on artificial turf, while men have never played World Cup matches on artificial turf.