Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for May 20, 2019

So writing about how FIFA is trying and BOOM! The ticket snafu happens. Some links but I'm swamped and and a few excerpts from my interview with Sarai Bareman.

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FIFA’s family separation policy

So we gotta switch some things up today, apologies. Things just got super busy for me. Keep reading and you’ll know why.

It’s May 20, also known as Game 4 of the Western Conference finals between the Warriors and the Trail Blazers. Golden State is up 3-0. A win tonight puts them in their fifth straight NBA finals.

WE’RE ALSO 17 days away from the Women’s World Cup! I leave in 13 days and I’m not ready (I blame the Blazers). AP is gonna have tons of stories over the next couple of months and I’m really excited about it.

This past week I had a couple of stories, the first was an interview with Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s director of women’s football.

So FIFA has rightfully come under fire for it’s management of the women’s game, with funding being the main issue. There’s currently no mechanism that requires member federations to dedicate any funds whatsoever to women. That’s a problem. Some background: FIFA used to require a percentage of the money (15%) from the contribution it made to members to go to women’s football development. There is no current requirement.

However, FIFA has started to take some baby steps. It started last fall with FIFA’s release of its Global Strategy for Women’s Football.

While some said the glossy rollout of the program was simply lipservice to the growing criticism, there have been incremental steps in growing the game. Because people are holding the organization accountable.

As Alex Morgan said on her recent piece for The Players’ Tribune. “It‘s not at the pace we want it to be, but without people being vocal about it, it would probably be even slower. So we need to keep speaking up.”

Sarai is a passionate cheerleader for the game, and I personally believe she’s doing what she can in the confines of the organization. Link below.


So just when you think things are getting better, they aren’t.

I know a bunch of you are going. Check your tickets. Apparently, you may not be sitting together. Family of four? Sorry. Honeymooning couples? Out of luck.

Seriously, how can this happen? You buy four tickets to a sporting event and the expectation is you’ll be together. Heck, it’s the freaking industry standard. For the men’s World Cup in Russia, if you bought two groups of tickets separately you could request to be together!

FIFA says you were warned, but one ticketholder I talked to said there were already issues with credit cards going through, and people were just crossing their fingers that the order went through — never mind the fine print.

Here’s the “fine print’’ ticket buys were expected to read. And understand, apparently. Thanks to Danny Page for the screenshot.

What in the heck? That’s it? That’s the warning. It should have been a banner above the order form.


Imagine the chaos that will ensue when people get to the games and try to switch seats en masse to be with their friends and family members. And there’s a language barrier! Yay!


OK, with that little rant I’ve got to run and actually write about all of this. Oh and cover Game 4 of the conference finals. And sneak in a shower. Busy, but blessed to be working in a field I love. If you want to share your experience, please email me at

So I guess this madness counts as our Tweet of the Week:

This Week in Women’s Soccer

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

Links, and sorry there’s not a lot, I’ll add the ones I missed next week.

First, me! (Cue up Taylor Swift)

My story about Sarai Bareman and FIFA’s women’s football strategy.

I also wrote about Hope Solo. I think I’ll talk about this next week.

And from my colleagues around the AP:

Graham Dunbar wrote about UEFA’s ambitious five-year women’s strategy.

Formiga is going to her seventh World Cup because she’s badass.

Sam Kerr, equally badass, leads Australia’s roster.

Lyon beats Barcelona 4-1 in the Champions League, putting more focus on Ada Hegeberg and why she’s not playing in the Women’s World Cup.

Caitlin Murray takes stock of the USWNY to Yahoo Sports. Murray also looked at how that match against Sweden in the Olympics shaped the team.

Shireeen Ahmed with a wonderful story on Canada’s Erin McLeod for The Athletic.

Also for The Atletic, Meg Linehan looks at how Hegerberg and the USWNT intersect.

Nice profile of Julie Ertz from Allison Glock for ESPNW.

Jamie Goldberg did a nice profile of Tierna Davidson for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Five at The IX: Sarai Bareman, FIFA director of women’s football

Annie: FIFA has formally adopted VAR, raised prize money and there will be a public vote on the site for the Next Wrod Cup. As head of women’s football why is doing these kind of things within FIFA important?

Bareman: I think in general we have made a commitment to growing the women’s game and bringing it into the mainstream. And that means the newer technology that’s coming into the game, we have obviously look at what’s happening on the women’s side. With VAR it obviously had an amazing debut in the men’s World Cup last year in Russia. And it’s something that we had always been looking at for the Women’s World Cup. But, as with everything, the women’s World Cup is our second biggest tournament and if you’re going to introduce something new, it needs to be done in a very careful and measured way. And ultimately at the end, it’s the referees who are the ones who decide if they feel comfortable. We’ve been through a very robust training process with them and we felt very comfortable to recommend to the council, based on that, that we do implement VAR. So that was something that I think was really positive. It was interesting for me I think to see a little bit of the commentary that kind of came along with that announcement, I know a lot of people kind of thought that it was a sort of a last-minute decision coming from FIFA, but I can confirm that that was absolutely not the case at all. We need to make sure that these things are done well when they’re introduced and the spotlight is on women’s football this summer in France. And that means every element linked to the Women’s World Cup, we want to make sure it’s as good as it can be. And that includes VAR.

It was always the case that for 2023 (bid) we were going to review the ’26 (men’s) process. Obviously what went well, but also to look at the elements that maybe didn’t go so well, and to adjust the Women’s World Cup bidding process accordingly. So it was always the case that it was going to be an improved process. But what we’ve seen in the past. And as with all things within FIFA particularly, around bidding, you have to go through quite a robust decision making process in terms of who can decide. And we were able to get the council approval for the proposed process across the line which is fantastic. And as you said it will be made public, the council vote for the 23 that vote. And I think that’s a fantastic thing to show that we really are being transparent with the way that we are conducting ourselves, in terms of the bids for 2023.

Annie: It appears that there is lots of interest. In Canada there were just two bids. Is that an encouraging sign for you?

Bareman : Absolutely it’s encouraging. It’s exciting. It’s a great indication of the level of interest that’s out there for women’s football. And I also think it’s a great indication of the benefits that I’ve made but that now seeing. Around the growth of the women’s game and the popularity of the sport which is a growing. But yes, it’s super exciting. And you know some of the countries that have put their name to the hat are you know progressing very well in the women’s game. So it will be very interesting to see how it unfolds in the coming months.

Annie: I wanted to circle back with you we spoke after FIFA unveiled its global women’s strategy. And at that time that starting in I believe that in January you were going to start having some workshops with member federations on best practices to implement the global strategy. So I wanted to get an update.

Bareman: You know it’s been a very, very busy few but since the launch of the strategy, but mostly positive. My team are very patient with me and the workload that I’m putting on them. And let’s just say that I’m very lucky that everyone on my team is very passionate about what they’re doing in women’s football.

So we’ve actually done what we call the pilot visits for the strategy workshops. I think I mentioned to you that we’d like to assist our member associations that want it, in walking them through the development process of their own strategy, tailor-made to the landscape of their individual countries. So it’s important for us when we deliver those workshops that we have the context and the framework right. And we’ve done three pilots now in Botswana, Latvia and Kuwait, different environments, different levels of women’s football in each of those countries. And now we’re at the stage where, based on those three pilots we’re reviewing and refining the content. And before the World Cup kicks off we will launch those more widely to the rest of our member associations.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson