Abily rips FIFA: ‘They must stop taking us for idiots’

Jeff Kassouf June 27, 2015 56
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

The loser of the Germany-France quarterfinal match that everybody knew was coming was always going to be upset.

France lost that match on Friday in penalty kicks. They played marvelously in the first half, taking the game to Germany. But they — and specifically, stars Louisa Necib and Gaetane Thiney — did not not finish their chances. Germany moved on and France was sent home.

[CURREN: Germany, France and why sports aren’t always fair]

That’s sports, of course, but the shame is that this match-up was man-made as part of FIFA rigging the World Cup in order to maximize TV ratings and ticket sales (how’s that going to go with Canada now out of the tournament?). The six seeded teams were placed into specific groups which played in specific cities and had specific predetermined knockout stage match-ups.

Germany and France were always going to meet in the quarterfinals. Maybe that would have happened in a natural draw like the men have. But it happened by the doing of FIFA, who decided that the business was more important than the integrity of the random draw.

With France out, the always well-spoken Camille Abily expressed her frustration about having to play Germany in the quarterfinals, saying that FIFA take women’s players for “idiots.” The 30-year-old French midfielder is saying what everyone has been thinking (and also saying). From L’Equipe:

“Yes, unfortunately we do going back to that but it’s not a real draw is conducted by FIFA. This is not to blame but why do we not like boys? A1 is Canada and for the rest, we raffling series heads (*). Do not tell me that’s there in the world, there was no one in Moncton! At one point, they must stop taking us for idiots … I’m sorry but if you made ​​a real draw, maybe we would not have played Germany or the United States after . Inevitably, that’s frustrating even if we knew from the start. The hope still go to the end, we proved Friday.”

Maybe in 2019, when France hosts the next World Cup, the draw will be done right.

  • mockmook

    Abily, they don’t take you for idiots, they just do whatever they like because they can: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • Steglitz49

      They don’t care about WoSo — except, possibly, in the strategic sense, that FIFA seem to (not unreasonably) to contend that worldwide WoSo needs for the US to win the cup and that a host vs US final would create the best atmosphere.

      FIFA may well be right. Maybe Japan will win again — or England for the first time!

    • ilovereality

      FIFA’s problems are well known; however, women’s soccer isn’t one of them. I don’t know why so many people think that Fifa is a sweatshop owner who profits off the blood sweat and tears of women soccer players. Fifa loses money, big money on women’s soccer. It is a charity for Fifa. If you are over 18 and living in your parents basement, don’t complain about your mother’s cooking. If you are losing money for your company, don’t ask for a raise. If you don’t like it, then you can move out or get another job. If the women hate Fifa, then form their own tournament.

      • mockmook

        I’d call that the cost (or “bribe”) of being left alone. If FIFA didn’t support WoSo, then every Western government would be putting a boot on FIFA’s neck.

        • thedude23434

          I don’t think any government really cares about women’s soccer. Outside the USA, the Women’s World Cup is ignored. Trust me, I been in other countries when the WWC was going on. Most people didn’t even know the tournament was going on. Especially in Western Europe. Even in the USA, it is a cult sport which caters to mostly white upper middle class 12 year old girls. I don’t think most politicians care about the 12 year old demographic. They have real problems like unemployment, global warming, etc to deal with. The reason why Fifa was left alone for so long was that they either bribed government officials or that they had real problems to deal with

        • Steglitz49

          I doubt it. The Men’s U21 Euro pulls in the spectators, TV deals and attention that rivals and probably exceeds WoSo adult Euro.

  • Lorehead

    “But why do we not like boys?” is such an unfortunate mistranslation.

    The plan to juice attendance and TV ratings is going to work out pretty well. No, Japan–England is not going to sell as well as Team Canada would have in Canada on Canada Day. Not nearly. The TV ratings won’t be great because of the time difference in Japan and England, and because it will be on FS1 instead of FOX in the US, but they should still break seven figures. Japan–England probably won’t even get as many fans from Oregon to see Jodie Taylor in Edmonton as they would have for Christine Sinclair, and that seems to have been a significant chunk of their audience. But the people who showed up for the JPN–AUS quarterfinal will stick around for the semifinal.

    USA–Germany in the other semifinal, in prime time in the US market on broadcast TV, is probably going to break the 10-million mark, and the US fans are going to fill the stadiums in Montreal and Vancouver. Third-place decision will probably be USA–England on the Fourth of July or else England–Germany, and either one has a good hook. If the US reaches the final, the TV ratings are going to blow out ’99.

    • Hollywood Reporter

      “blow out ’99”? That’s a tall order. An estimated 11,300,000 homes and 40,000,000 viewers watched the U.S. women become the first
      host nation to win the Women’s World Cup.- http://www.soccertimes.com/worldcup/1999/jul11.htm

      • Lorehead

        Almost 18 million American households saw the ’99 final. And the USWNT is on track to beat that. 5.7 million households saw the USA–China quarterfinal, and 8.1 million were tuned in at 9 Eastern. That compares to 3.89 million households that watched the USA–Brazil quarterfinal in ’11, 3.35 million that saw the USA–France semifinal in ’11, and 4.92 million that saw the USA–Brazil semifinal in ’99. The final is airing Sunday night on prime time with the NASCAR “Coke Zero 400” as its only real competition.

        • Steglitz49

          The downside is that, judging by these matches, Europe are not staying up for the matches that kick-off late. Indeed, they do not even seem to bother with the “earlier” matches. One has to hope that the sponsors are content with this arrangement.

          • Lorehead

            Also, taking another look, the semifinal is 3 PM Pacific time on a Tuesday, and that’s just not going to get as big an audience as Friday in prime time. If the US reaches the final Sunday in prime time, though, that’s going to be huge.

          • Steglitz49

            US v Germany kicks off at 01:00 am German time while Japan-England at midnight UK time which I think is 8 am Japanese time but I could be wrong.

  • Lorehead

    Her words in French were, “Ce n’est pas pour les blâmer mais pourquoi ne fait-on pas comme chez les garçons? A1, c’est le Canada et pour le reste, on tire au sort les têtes de séries.” If I’m reading this correctly, a better translation would be: “This isn’t to make excuses, but how come it isn’t like they do it for the boys? Canada is A1, and for the rest, there’s a draw of the seeded teams.”

    • Apres Moi

      Somebody is relying on Bing translater too much. Yours is better. Where is El Cascador?

  • dw

    You could have restrained yourself against Mexico, and avoided Germany and the USA until the Final. You could have pretty easily beaten Norway and Canada. YOU ARE IDIOTS.

    • Stephen

      And Germany could have accidently lost to Norway, to avoid France and the USA, while comfortably beating Thailand in the last match. The thing is it shouldn’t be this way. A team should never be punished for winning a group.

      • dw

        Excellent use of the word “should”. It was clear that winning that group was a road that neither France nor England “should” have desired. The only way you could do this would be to seed teams after group play and then draw the teams into the bracket. FIFA rigged the draw against France, who’s going to cry foul if they opt for some retribution. All they had to do was sit on a 1-0 lead vs. MEX.

  • HM

    Don’t fret too much Camile, because France will get the royal road treatment for 2019, same as Canada this time. An easy group and a carefully planned bracket for the knockout stage. Just like the men in 1998. La!

    • john

      Wouldn’t it be just like FIFA to switch to the random draw for 2019?

    • Jane

      In 98, France played Italy in the quarterfinals. Would you say that Italian team was just a little bit better than say China, Australia, Canada at this WWC?

  • john

    No matter what the schedule you still have to perform. Teams need to find a way to win. There will always be something- injuries, bad calls, weather that alters your style, etc. France’s problem was a lack of composure at critical moments. Necib demonstrated exquisite touch on so many of her passes, hustled on defense, but shot poorly. Even her goal was not a good shot. It was straight into the defenders. Only when the defender turned did it have a path to goal. Thierney had a similar lack of composure at the worst moment as well. That is on France not FIFA.

    • NYRick

      Spot on. You want to be a champion (and France was one of the favorites going in), you beat who they put in front of you. To win this title, you are eventually going to have to beat a top tier team like a Germany, US or Japan to hoist the trophy. I think France put forth a great effort and it was a compelling match and certainly a tough loss to lose in kicks, but for all who watched the match, they have no one to blame but themselves. For good stretches they did badly outplay Germany. I remember a shot of Neid in the first half looking kind of helpless. She saw and understood what was happening to her team but had no answer. Only the hope they could hold on, survive and find a way. Which they did. All great teams and players find a way when they are not having their best day or when the opponent is taking it to them.

      Also, for Abily or really any champion athlete. If you go all the way with a tough schedule they give you (in France’s case, Germany, US and most likely Japan) and win it all. There has to be a great deal of satisfaction in that and undisputed proof that we took on the best on the biggest stage and won.

      • kernel_thai

        All true from a North American perspective but what if ur UEFA. It’s their WC too. They spend money to improve woso in Europe, put arguably the two best sides in tournament and have them “scheduled” to meet in the quarters? This isnt about poor France being out of the tournament. The story plays just as well if Germany is knocked out. This is about poor woso still being considered a second hand sport. It’s no less insulting than having Blatter suggest the women wear shorter shorts.

        • NYRick

          Fair point. Hey we all know the seeding should have been different in terms of the quadrants. FIFA did their best to try to get Canada as far as they could for attendance/drama.

          I personally think that once it got out of the group stage and you are sitting with 16 teams, than those 16 need to be ranked 1-16 (whether that’s current FIFA ranking coming into the tournament) and basically it becomes like the NCAA basketball tournament (1 plays 16, 2 plays 15 etc. all the way to the final). You maybe get the same upset here and there but for the most part you will get your fair UEFA and N. American balance and the creme usually rises to the top. Personally, I don’t think the US is the #2 team entering this tournament, I think that was France. In fact, I think the US was more the #4 team behind Japan. The FIFA rankings in their own right are confusing and misleading.

          • kernel_thai

            There is absolutely no reason for Coke to be paying sponsorship money if the rankings arent used here. It’s the only time anyone cares about them (except USSoccer who think being the #1 ranked somehow equates to being the best team). FIFA rankings r largely dependent on teams playing friendlies which is why the African nations r ranked below their skill level. Still, they hold up well enough in the top 20 and certainly could be used to seed the knockout stage.

      • Jane

        Agree with your points. But I don’t think Abily is complaining about having to play Germany but rather about the set up which had it happen in the quarters – a game that many consider to be the final. Besides, I’m sure she is crushed by the result. France certainly didn’t try to duck Germany by going for second in their group and they certainly showed up for the game, taking it to and dominating the favorites. Both coach and players have indeed pointed to the missed chances for their undoing. Which I find pretty classy on their part, given that so many think they deserved to win. You had France with skill and speed, passing and movement with and off the ball. You had Germany resorting to repeated fouling. The players to their credit haven’t brought it up but that was a debatable penalty and if it was why was a similar handball not called on the German player in the first half?
        I watched Brazil’s debacle in the copa against Paraguay and a lot of commentary lamenting the loss of Jogo bonito and futebol arts. Those terms might now be nothing more than marketing terms for the Brasilian brand. And yet, watching the fantastic match between France and Germany, the French women did show that futebol arte is not just a thing of the past. If only they could have finished their chances! Beauty will save the world, Dostoevsky writes somewhere. If only.

  • john

    So we’re back to the selective gender issue whining. The turf and the draw are wrong. However, the U23 Olympics need never be mentioned. It is the same issue as the draw-business. Woso is not equal to men’s soccer and FIFA is trying to maximize attendance and media interest. Why doesn’t Abily appreciate that? Missing those great chances at any round would have made France losers. FIFA didn’t play the game.

  • RMC17

    Despite sounding like sour grapes, the point is valid: the 1,2,3,5 seeds in one bracket and the 4,6,8,10 seeds in the other is ridiculous. Yes you have to beat the best eventually but two of the top three teams in the world shouldn’t be forced to be eliminated by the end of the semis. France b Germany could have and should have been the final; they were playing the best soccer in the tournament. The U.S. has to prove it belongs now. No one wants a lopsided championship game. It should in theory be the two best teams but that’s impossible thanks to FIFA.

  • eL cascador (RIP Cdr Wank)

    Would it be more correct to say : “Fifa must stop playing us for fools” ?

  • kernel_thai

    FIFA needs to reconsider the hand ball in the box rule. Too many times bad luck outweighs skill. Personally I dont think a ball that comes off the body and then hits an arm is PK worthy. I also would also like the referee to have discretion on where the ball is going. Obviously a shot on goal should carry more weight than a hand ball on a settle or a clearance. Soccer is a game of skill not bad luck.

    • NYRick

      Handball in the box or really any PK that happens in the box needs a 2 minute video review by an official in the booth. We understand the history of the sport blah blah blah (human decision at the moment it happens, continual time moving etc.). But in this regard, what about an injured player on the pitch for 5 minutes. Simply add in stoppage time for the review. All these matches usually are 1-goal affairs and a PK for a handball needs review. Personally, I think every goal needs review (Japan possible offsides yesterday for their winning goal). Hockey is now doing it, and if there was ever a sport that could afford it with FIFA’s riches, it’s soccer. It’s more than time for soccer to enter the modern era. They are doing it with goal line technology now too.

      • Steglitz49

        This is soocer. Not grid-iron or hockey.

        It may come to what you suggest but then soccer as we know it will be gone. It is worth fighting to keep soccer soccer.

        • justsomeguy

          lets not be afraid to use technology

          • guest

            I agree if the decision can be made quickly and with 100% accuracy, which goal-line technology seems to be (no hacking possible ha), but in American football much of the replay is not clear-cut and subject to endless debate and fraught with bizarre philosophical questions like “did the player make a ‘football’ move”?

          • justsomeguy

            i agree people will still be mad

      • justsomeguy

        completely agreed, lets use technology to our advantage and make this game more fair

        • Steglitz49

          It may not be possible without changing the character and charm of the game.

          • justsomeguy

            nothing will change if we pause the stupid game for 1 minute, like they do with fake injuries anyway

          • Steglitz49

            You obviously have not watched much soccer over the years but never mind.

          • justsomeguy

            so we don’t pause the game when someone drops to the floor pretending they got injured to kill time, or anything like that?

          • Steglitz49

            The referee can add on the wasted time. Some do.

          • justsomeguy

            so what is the problem then? if a referee blows her whistle because a defender tripped a forward and its about to be a penalty, but then they review the footage right away and see abby diving, all they do is issue abby a yellow and give a free kick to the other team, i dont understand what you are worrying about. it wont be a 5 minute review

          • Steglitz49

            It will become a 5 min review. The advertisers will push for it.

            Soccer is a continuous game. Not stop-start. Keep it soccer, or watch grid-iron or hockey.

            Top refs, like Jenny Palmqvist, can be developed everywhere, even in the US.

          • justsomeguy

            it wont

    • FootballNowAndAlways

      The implementation should be simple. A handball should only be called if a player deliberately plays the ball with his or her hand. We have some prominent examples from the men’s game, the most famous being “Maradona’s hand of God” goal. Luis Suarez’s impromptu assumption of the goalkeeper role in denying Ghana a goal back in the 2010 world cup is another.

      A foul should not be called when the ball strikes a player’s hand, no matter how far it is extended from the body, unless the Referee determines that said extension was covertly contrived to influence the movement of the ball. Hands are part of the human body, and inadvertent contact between them and the ball should no more justify foul calls than contact between the ball and other parts of the body that are not penalized.

      • Lorehead

        Honestly, I don’t much like rules that call on the ref to read the player’s mind. We could make the rule more complicated (PK unless the arm is in a natural position or isn’t moving, and maybe not if it deflects off the rest of the body or isn’t a shot on goal), or we could just lessen the penalty (indirect free kick instead of PK, ref encouraged to allow the attackers to play advantage)?

        • FootballNowAndAlways

          “unless the arm is in a natural position or isn’t moving”

          How would “natural position” be defined? That concept has actually been tested in this world cup. It was precisely on that point that opinion about whether or not Abily should have received a red card for her elbow to Bassett, diverged. One poster (can’t recall the name) pointed asked if it was possible to jump without using the arms for leverage.

          Very few handballs are deliberate in Soccer. Referees should be able to determine deliberate contact in the majority of cases. Errors of judgement would be negligible and, in any event, would occur much less frequently than we see with the current implementation.

          The average deliberate handball is in many ways like pornography – we know it when we see it.

      • guest

        Deliberately reaching out and touching the ball” We could call it the Toby Rule.

  • AlexH

    I can see why the French women feel cheated but, I don’t think think FIFA took anybody for idiots. They owned up to the fact that the brackets were structured to maximize ticket sales. It isn’t completely sporting but it is reasonable for a tournament to want to make money.

    FIFA has many flaws but the fact that women are playing a tournament in 50,000 seat stadiums and every game is televised is FIFA’s finest hour. Were it not for FIFA forcing broadcast networks to air the WWC as a condition of broadcasting the MWC the tournament would be played on HS fields and fans would be squinting their eyes trying to take in the action on crappy internet feeds.

    • mockmook

      Again, a non-corrupt entity could also run Football and promote WoSo. FIFA shouldn’t get a pass because it does a few good things for WoSo.

      • AlexH

        Well the Algarve Cup is a non corrupt women’s tournament that features the worlds top teams in a beautiful location and yet plays to empty stadiums with no TV coverage. I prefer the FIFA way

        • Steglitz49

          It is, to be fair, a glorified training camp.

        • guest21

          I feel the same as you. I don’t know why everyone believes that Fifa has a moral obligation to women’s soccer. This isn’t a high school or college. There is no Title IX in the real world. If women want something different, then they should form their own International Soccer Federation. It will take longer, but it will be theirs and they will control it. It seems 80% of coverage of women’s soccer are articles about how sexist Fifa is. Fifa loses 25 million annually on women’s soccer. 25 million for a children’s game. Think what Doctor’s without borders could do with 25 million. We are constantly inundated with ‘female empowerment’ messages. Why not form WIFA if they are so empowered?

          • loveuswomensoccer

            I couldn’t agree more. Let’s not forget that all the top women’s teams (including the USA) are either completely supported or heavily subsidized by the profits from the men’s teams. I support women’s soccer, but I am tired of all the whining and accusations of sexism. I handle the travel accounts for my company. Just sending one employee to another country and putting them up in a hotel is expensive. I can’t imagine the costs of sending 30 people across the world and putting them up in hotels and feeding them for a month. For most teams, the profits from the men’s teams or Fifa itself pays for this expense. Come on, I grew up in an era where women faced real discrimination. Around the world little girls have to fight just to learn how to read. (as we witnessed with that young woman from Afghanistan). Let’s put things in perspective, and stop acting like a bunch of whining spoiled brats.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. Maybe WC-15 will be seen as a watershed but for different reasons from WC-11 which had romance and grit.

            WoSo is changing rapidly. What took 30 years for them has happened in about 5 years for the ladies. Unless the lasses can get more spectators to the ballpark, they will continue to be kept by the wealthy men’s teams or federations. As a corollary, they will be seen as a joke, however skillfull players like Miyama and Naho are, let alone Alex and never mind Krieger.

            Women must make WoSo work for them not against them.

  • Stay Pressed

    who the f translated this?