MOSCOW (Reuters) - The World Cup has been marred by an estimated 300 cases of sexism on the streets tarnishing an otherwise positive tournament, the head of an anti-discrimination group said on Wednesday.
Piara Powar, the head of the FARE network which monitors discrimination in European soccer and has been working with FIFA, said the victims had included Russian women harassed by fans and television reporters who had been accosted while broadcasting.
“It’s been a largely positive experience and there haven’t been a great deal of incidents of the type we expected,” Powar told reporters, referring to pre-tournament fears of racism and homophobia.
“The only thing we have really flagged up which has been significant has been the level of sexism which has been encountered by some women, often Russian women who have been confronted by fans,” he said.
“We have identified 30 cases where we can point to fans involved in acts of sexism on the streets - that’s clearly an underestimate, the real figure is probably that times 10.”
He added there had been around 30 cases of reporters who had been accosted on air.
Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s head of sustainability and diversity, added that he wanted to stop host broadcasters zooming in on female fans.
“It’s a normal evolution,” he said. “We have done it on a case-by-case basis when some cases arose and they were pretty evident.”
Before the tournament, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) apologised and withdrew a manual that included advice on how to seduce Russian women. The AFA said the material was printed in error.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis