Fans Are Dragging FIFA For Dropping The Ball With This Disappointing World Cup Commentary Team

FIFA women's world cup

It took approximately zero hours for FIFA to shove its foot into its own goal mouth in the anticipation for the Women’s World Cup, after it revealed its stacked commentary team would be… entirely male. Please say sike.

The full international English language team for world feed commentary was announced two days before the World Cup kicked off (on July 18), and consisted of:

  • Simon Hill
  • Robbie Thomson
  • Simon Brotherton
  • Kevin Keatings
  • Mark Scott
  • John Roder
  • Paul Walker
  • Chris Wise
  • Steve Wilson

Yep, you read that correctly. Not a woman in sight, despite the World Cup literally being one of the few times women are even spotlighted in sport.

The announcement, unsurprisingly, pissed off fans of the women’s team who were gobsmacked to see FIFA fumble the ball so pathetically on what should have been an excellent opportunity to uplift female sports commentators in an industry that often ignores them.

“Are we in 2023 or 1950?” UK journalist Sally Freedman wrote on Twitter.

“There are more Simons than women on this list,” another Twitter user pointed out.

Their sentiments were echoed by other offended sports fans who labelled the decision “embarrassing”, “misogynistic” and “an absolute disgrace”.

Despite the backlash, it took another 24 hours for FIFA to announce a team of female commentators — which were referred to as “co-commentary” rather than “lead commentary” like the male staff.

Izzy Christiansen, Laura Bassett, Rehanne Skinner, Amy Chapman and Melissa Barbieri will now be commenting alongside of these men, but the question is, why was this list announced separately? And WTF is a co-commentary team?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised about all this rampant sexism. I mean, FIFA still offers a significantly smaller prize pool for the Women’s World Cup vs the men’s World Cup.

This year’s prize money for the women’s FIFA World Cup is only $150 million — almost 300 per cent more than what they got in 2019, and yet still way less than what the men’s World Cup prize money was last year at $440 million.

The Matildas, our national treasures, are competing in the World Cup this year and have called for fairer conditions for female players, from being able to unionise, to equal pay, to more full-time work opportunities.

As they damn well should — they are no less talented than their male counterparts, and way more tenacious given the hoops they consistently have to jump through.

And despite the forces against them, the Matildas’ opening match against Ireland in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 (which they won!!!!) still reached 4.88 million people across the screens of the Seven Network.

Pop off girlies! We’re rooting for you!

Image: Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images