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Five sexism issues at the World Cup

Moscow (AFP) – Complaints spreading on social media from fans, reporters and officials at the football World Cup have cast a spotlight on sexist behaviour during the competition in Russia this month.

Here are five of the issues:

– Obscene songs, phrases –

Clips have spread online of fans from various countries singing obscene songs to female visitors and locals or making them repeat obscene phrases.

Russian campaigner Alena Popova launched an online petition against Brazilians filmed singing a song about female genitals to a Russian woman. It has garnered more than 70,000 signatures.

The Colombian foreign ministry in a tweet condemned one clip of a fan teaching Japanese women to repeat misogynistic phrases in Spanish.

– Offensive officials –

Some officials have been criticised for sexist comments.

Argentina’s Football Association apologised for issuing a World Cup handbook featuring a section on how to flirt with Russian women.

Russian lawmaker Tamara Pletneva said Russian women should refrain from sleeping with visiting World Cup fans to avoid becoming single mothers with mixed-race children.

– Reporters harassed –

Men have groped and kissed numerous women reporters, sometimes during live broadcasts.

In one of the most prominent cases, a man kissed Deutsche Welle journalist Julieth Gonzalez Theran and appeared to touch her breast while she was on air.

Brazilian journalist Julia Guimaraes scolded a man who kissed her as she faced the camera, telling him: “Don’t ever do this again!… Respect!”

– Sexist ads, photos –

Burger King apologised for an online advertisement offering burgers to Russian women who get impregnated by football players during the World Cup.

US picture agency Getty apologised for publishing a series of photographs titled “World Cup 2018: The Sexiest Fans.” It withdrew the series, which it said “did not meet our editorial standards”.

– Women officials? –

The London-based Fare network, which campaigns against discrimination in sport, said in a blog that while there were lots of women fans, “high-profile women are hard to find at the World Cup.”

There are no female match officials “and few women heads of state or government officials watching games with Gianni Infantino,” the president of FIFA, Fare said in a blog.

It noted however that “for the first time in the history of the tournament the general secretary of FIFA… is a woman,” Fatma Samoura.

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