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In a bid to tackle sexism at the 2018 World Cup, soccer governing body FIFA has called on television broadcasters to avoid cutting away to attractive women celebrating in the stands of games.
“We’ve done it with individual broadcasters. We’ve done it with our host broadcast services,” said FIFA diversity chief Federico Addiechi. He added that FIFA was not yet being “proactive” about the policy but would “take action against things that are wrong.”
The “hot female fan” trope is widespread in coverage of the World Cup. During Russia 2018, photo agency Getty Images came under fire after it published a photo gallery of “the hottest fans at the World Cup.” Getty later took down the gallery, calling it a “regrettable error in judgement” and said an internal investigation would be made.
FIFA’s move comes amid widespread reports of sexism at this year’s tournament, including several incidents of female World Cup reporters being harassed online, and in public, with many being grabbed and kissed while on air.
Ahead of Russia 2018, there were widespread fears that racism and homophobia would be the most pressing problems at this year’s tournament. Many pointed to Russia’s notorious anti-gay legislation and to previous incidents involving Russian fans engaging in racist chants at matches. Instead, sexism has been the main focus of discrimination, according to Fare Network, an organization that fights inequality in soccer.
Addiechi said FIFA has been working with Russian police and local organizers to identify fans who have assaulted female reporters and that some of them have been stripped of their FAN-IDs , the document all spectators require to obtain access to World Cup stadiums, and been forced to leave the country.
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