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Sepp Blatter: 'Godfather' to women's soccer

05/07/2015 12:22 EDT | Updated 05/07/2016 05:59 EDT
An opportunity for self-promotion is one Sepp Blatter can't refuse.

In an interview broadcast Thursday by BBC World Service Radio, the FIFA boss described himself as a "godfather" to women's soccer.

The 79-year-old Swiss sportocrat has overseen four Women's World Cups as the president of soccer's world governing body but has also been critical of the women's game.

Blatter once suggested that players wear tighter shorts on the pitch to help "create a more female aesthetic." His organization also denied a request by players that all matches at next month's Women's World Cup in Canada be played on natural grass, the same as men's matches, rather than synthetic turf.

In the interview with the BBC, he said that the women's game "is still limping a little bit behind" the men's, and challenged players to put on a show at the upcoming World Cup in order to elevate the popularity of their sport.

"Women's football must market itself. It's a product and the product must have quality," Blatter said. "Now it's up to the ladies in this World Cup to show that it's a great event because the television coverage will be done exactly like the FIFA World Cup. There will be over 20 cameras in each stadium. There will be goal-line technology in the stadium."

Before becoming the head of FIFA in 1998 (he's currently seeking a fifth term), Blatter was its General Secretary when the first Women's World Cup was played in 1991.

He told the BBC that he'd like to see more women in executive positions with regional governing bodies, and more women's leagues around the world, to build on the efforts he and FIFA have made to support the game.

"I consider myself a little bit as a godfather of the organization of women's football in FIFA," he said.

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