Saturday, December 9

Swedish women’s soccer team forced to show genitals in ‘humiliating’ World Cup gender test

Swedish soccer player Nilla Fischer has revealed that the women’s national team was forced to strip naked and “show their genitals” for doctors to prove they were women at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany.

“We were told that we shouldn’t shave ‘down there’ for the next few days and that we would show our genitals to the doctor,” Fischer wrote in his new book “I Didn’t Say the Half of It.”

‘Nobody understands shaving, but we do what we’re told and think ‘how did we get there?’ Why are we forced to do this now? There have to be other ways to do it. Should we refuse?

‘At the same time, nobody wants to jeopardize the chance to play in a World Cup. We just have to do the shit no matter how sick and humiliating it feels.

The Swedish centre-back, who made 194 caps for her country, spoke more about the experience in an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

Swedish footballer Nilla Fischer (pictured) has revealed that the women's national team was forced to strip naked and 'show their genitals' for doctors to prove they were women at the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany.

Swedish footballer Nilla Fischer (pictured) has revealed that the women’s national team was forced to strip naked and ‘show their genitals’ for doctors to prove they were women at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany.

The Sweden team gathers before the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-final match between Sweden and Australia at the FIFA Women's World Cup Augsburg Stadium on July 10, 2011 in Augsburg, Germany.

The Sweden team gathers before the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final match between Sweden and Australia at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Augsburg Stadium on July 10, 2011 in Augsburg, Germany.

“I understand what I have to do and quickly drop my training pants and underwear at the same time,” he said.

‘The physio nods and says ‘yes’ and then looks at the doctor who is standing with his back to my door. He takes note and proceeds down the hall to knock on the next door.

“When everyone in our team is checked, that is, they have exposed their vagina, our team doctor can sign that the Swedish women’s national football team is made up of only women.”

Two weeks before the tournament in Germany began, FIFA released its updated gender recognition policies which remain in effect to this day. The rules require teams to sign a statement stating that all players involved in the tournament are of the ‘appropriate gender’.

The inspections were enforced as teams from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa protested speculation that some of the players submitted by Equatorial Guinea might have been men.

But it is not clear why the players were forced to show their genitalia, rather than undergo a simple swab test for examination, as is common practice.

Fischer said having the exam carried out by team physiotherapists meant the players were going through the ordeal in a “safe environment”, but it was clear she was upset with the way the situation was handled.

‘We had a very safe environment in the team. So it was probably the best environment to do it. But it’s an extremely strange situation and, in general, it’s not a comfortable way to do it.’

Nilla Fischer of Sweden during the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 semi-final match between Netherlands and Sweden of America at Stade de Lyon on July 3, 2019 in Lyon

Nilla Fischer of Sweden during the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 semi-final match between Netherlands and Sweden of America at Stade de Lyon on July 3, 2019 in Lyon

Fischer is seen defending near the goal line in this image taken during a World Cup match in 2019.

Fischer is seen defending near the goal line in this image taken during a World Cup match in 2019.

FIFA said it had “taken note of the recent comments made by Nilla Fischer about her experiences and the gender verification tests carried out by the Swedish team at the 2011 Women’s World Cup” in response to Fischer’s interview.

Meanwhile, Mats B√∂rjesson, the Swedish women’s team doctor at the time of the 2011 World Cup, told Aftonbladet that although the checks were not carried out under ideal circumstances, their purpose was justifiable.

“FIFA doesn’t do this to be mean to anyone,” he said, adding that the checks were carried out as part of various measures to “create justice for girls so they don’t train their whole lives and then someone else comes in with an unreasonable advantage.” .

The revelation comes as former Arsenal player turned pundit Ian Wright criticized European broadcasters for a lack of promotion around this year’s Women’s World Cup, which begins in just over a month in Australia.

Speaking on the latest episode of his Wrighty’s House podcast to guests Musa Okwonga and Ryan Hunn, Wright said he was astonished that with just six weeks to go until the tournament begins, there is little promotion across Europe as broadcasters and FIFA they have struggled to reach agreements on television rights.

Wright said England’s Lionesses, who held up the Euro trophy at Wembley in 2022 in front of 87,000 fans, were denied endorsement deals and highlighted their “finest moments”.

A frustrated Ian Wright, who is heading to Australia and New Zealand to cover the tournament, said the Women's World Cup was six weeks away from being unfortunately promoted.

A frustrated Ian Wright, who is heading to Australia and New Zealand to cover the tournament, said the Women’s World Cup was six weeks away from being unfortunately promoted.

Last month, the government asked FIFA, the BBC and ITV to reach an agreement after fears of a TV blackout in the UK were raised.

Broadcast deals have yet to be agreed for some of soccer’s biggest countries ahead of the tournament.

In the passionate outburst, Wright said that some soccer fans in the UK were not even aware that the tournament was taking place due to a lack of publicity.

He said: ‘Whatever is going on with the broadcasters and FIFA. They have to sit down and figure out [it]. The Women’s World Cup can’t not be all over Europe, man.

‘How come we didn’t show up? This would never happen in the men’s game.

He continued: ‘Look at the number of opportunities these girls probably missed out on in regards to the endorsement deals that led to this.

‘Not a good look. You walk down the street and people don’t even know [it’s happening].’

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