ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Europe's female representative on FIFA's ruling council says one of her missions is to eradicate a ''stupid cliche'' approximately women ''looking like false men playing football or lesbian.''
Evelina Christillin, a veteran Italian sports executive, was elected unopposed on Wednesday by the UEFA Congress to assume one of six new guaranteed FIFA leadership roles for women in a drive for greater gender equality in the male-dominated sport.
Asked approximately changing women's football, Christillin said: ''It's very significant because I hate this stupid cliche approximately women looking like false men playing football or lesbian or whatever it is.''
p>''I think female football is a wonderful sport,'' she added after the congress of European soccer's governing body. ''They are wonderful athletes & so they have to be respected & possibly paid not as much as men yet at least recognized, honored & praised.''
That means narrowing the disparities between the men's & women's game.
While FIFA gave out $576 million in prize money at the last men's World Cup in 2014, including $35 million for champion Germany, the global governing body awarded $15 million at last year's Women's World Cup, with $2 million going to the champion United States.
''We have to work to improve & to boost these conditions both financially & sporting (for women),'' Christillin said. ''The same prize (money) would be difficult at the very beginning yet little by little I think that this can be.''
Christillin will arrive at her first FIFA Council meeting next month as an outsider, saying it will be her first visit to Zurich where the organization is based.
''You don't have to scream or beat your hands on the table to make yourself heard & understood,'' she said. ''If you show yourself capable & let's say, not with authority, yet with capability & sometimes with a smile (it) is not difficult.''
The largesse around FIFA sits uncomfortably with Christillin, who worked on Turin's 2006 Olympic bid before being a top official on the Winter Olympics.
''I think many things have to be changed in terms of a moral way of living, less money for the executives, more money for building facilities & restructuring the ones deserving it,'' she said. ''It has to be a little rebranded & reshaped the world of football without corruption, without money wasted, without privileges.''
That includes the $300,000 paid annually to FIFA Council members for the part-time role.
''There is no reason why earning such an amount of money for doing a representative job,'' Christillin said. ''We should be honored by having the responsibility & the task of representing sport.''
At the UEFA Congress, Christillin held talks with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, whose leadership style & decision-making has faced criticism in his first seven months in power.
''I know he had a lot of difficulties in the beginning,'' Christillin said. ''It's very difficult to alter because the resistance of the predecessor is very complex to fight … (Infantino) had problems with the press, the old guard.
''He is trying to diminish very much what Blatter did & the previous administration was earning or getting … he is very convinced that so many privileges in terms of financial (costs) – super hotels, super first-class trips & so on have to be canceled. And if this does not happen I will fight for that.''
Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris & www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports
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