‘FIFA Doesn’t Care About Women’s Football’- Megan Rapinoe
Fifa has shown it does not care about the women’s game by naming a little-known striker on its female player-of-the-year shortlist, World Cup-winner Megan Rapinoe says.
The nominees are US midfielder Carli Lloyd, Dutch forward Lieke Martens and Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos, 18, who does not play in a professional league.
“The award just doesn’t hold a lot of weight when you’ve got someone on the list I’ve never heard of,” said USA’s Rapinoe, who has 127 caps and won 2012 Olympic gold and the 2015 World Cup.
Rapinoe, 33, told BBC Sport that the inclusion of rising star Castellanos on the Best Awards shortlist was patronising to the women’s game.
“It signals to us and it signals to the rest of the world that Fifa doesn’t really care,” she said.
“If some random male player, who was not even a full professional, was nominated, I’m sure they would step in for that, so it’s disappointing that the same hasn’t been done for us.”
Castellanos plays for the Florida State university team and has never represented Venezuela at senior or even under-20 level.
She has 14 goals in 15 games so far for Florida State this season and six in nine for Santa Clarita Blue Heat – the Californian pro-am outfit she turned out for in the off-season.
The awards recognise performances between November 2016 and August 2017, and the winner will be announced at a ceremony at the London Palladium on Monday evening.
Conspicuous by their absence from the shortlist are players like Australia forward Sam Kerr, who became the all-time leading scorer in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States, and England striker Jodie Taylor, who was top scorer at Euro 2017.
Kerr also criticised the nominations saying: “Not surprised really, it’s Fifa”
Lloyd, 35, is a two-time World Cup winner and Martens, 24, was player of the tournament at Euro 2017.
Rapinoe, who plays for Seattle Reign, said the shortlist is indicative of an organisation that’s “old, male and stale”.
Nominated for the men’s award are Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris St-Germain’s Neymar.