Stop Zooming In On "Hot Women" During The World Cup, It's Sexist

Natalie Gil

Anyone watching the World Cup – and most other major sporting events, for that matter – would be forgiven for assuming that the only people in the crowd were conventionally attractive young (mostly white) women.

Camera operators have long had a habit of zooming in on the "hot women" in attendance, but football's international governing body is now taking a stand against it. Federico Addiechi, diversity chief at Fifa, said the organisation will talk to national broadcast networks and its own TV production team about the problem in a bid to tackle sexism in football, the Associated Press reported.

"We've done it with individual broadcasters. We've done it with our host broadcast services," he said, before suggesting it could eventually become official Fifa policy to crack down on such cutaway shots.

"This is one of the activities we definitely will have in future – it's a normal evolution," he said in a briefing on Wednesday, but added that it wasn't yet a "proactive campaign".

Sexism has been a more serious problem than racism at this year's World Cup, contrary to the expectation that racism would be a bigger issue, Addiechi said. It had also been assumed that homophobia would be more prevalent than sexism at the tournament because of Russia's longstanding history.

Sexism has been the most frequent type of discrimination logged by the Fare Network, which aims to combat inequality in football. There have been more than 30 cases of "sexism on the streets" at the World Cup reported to the organisation.

More than half of these cases involved fans harassing female broadcasters while on air, said the network's executive director, Piara Powar. He estimated that the true number of sexist incidents is likely to be 10 times as many.

TV networks aren't the only media organisations that have been accused of sexism during this year's World Cup, however. Photo agency Getty Images posted a photo gallery of the "the hottest fans at the World Cup" in June, which featured only young women. The company took it down after strong criticism on social media that it was outdated, calling it a "regrettable error in judgement."

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