With the World Cup final just days away, FIFA is asking broadcasters to keep their focus on the game, and not the women in the crowd.
Federico Addiechi, FIFA diversity boss, tells the BBC that networks have been asked to stop cutting away to women in the crowd when action in the game lulls.
"We've done it with individual broadcasters. We've done it with our host broadcast services," he said. The reason? Because it's sexist!
FIFA's move follows an apology last month from photo agency Getty Images, which put up a gallery of young, attractive women called "World Cup 2018: The Sexiest Fans." The gallery was eventually taken down because it did not "meet our editorial standards," an editor wrote.
The well-worn practice of cutting away to women in the crowd at soccer games was perhaps at its most egregious during the Sweden vs. England game in the World Cup round of eight. After the cameras spent much of the second half showing dejected blonde women in the crowd, Fox analyst Ian Wright said, “I’m just so sorry that so many beautiful women are so sad right now.”
We'll have a chance on Sunday to see if broadcasters are listening to FIFA. Croatia and France kick off the World Cup final at 11am EST with the boys in red, white and blue as huge favorites.
Picked by many to win the World Cup, France is right where it expected to be at this stage in the tournament. It's attacking talent has proved nearly unstoppable in Russia, led by youngster Kyian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. The French defense is no slouch either. In its semi-final match, they held the vaunted Belgium attack scoreless.
Unlike France, few would have picked Croatia to make it this far in the World Cup, but the world class mid-field talent of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, along with the ageless forward Mario Mandzukic, have propelled them to the final.
Few people are giving Croatia a chance on Sunday, which is an advantage in its own right. After making it this far, no one expects anything from them. The pressure's off, and France doesn't have that luxury. The bad news for Croatia, of course, is that every other advantage goes to their opponent.