England World Cup star Lucy Bronze appeared to snub a handshake with FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino during the football final’s medal ceremony, following controversial comments where he told female footballers to “pick the right battles”.
During the ceremony – after the Lionesses’ bruising 1-0 defeat by Spain in the 2023 Women’s World Cup final on Sunday (20 August) – broadcast footage showed the England defender tap the hand of FIFA boss Gianni Infantino rather than shake it.
Some media outlets reported that Bronze failed to meet Infantino’s hand at all, which is not the case as footage clearly shows the player briefly touch his hand before collecting her medal and moving on down the line to firmly shake the hands of other officials.
The potential snub, which Bronze has not publicly commented on, came after comments Infantino made earlier in the week about the women’s game, which detractors described as patronising and condescending.
At FIFA’s Women’s Football Convention in Sydney, Infantino said during a 22 minute speech: “I say to all the women, and you know I have four daughters, so I have a few at home, I say to all the women, that you have the power to change.
“Pick the right battles. Pick the right fights. You have the power to change.
“You have the power to convince us men what we have to do and what we don’t have to do. You do it. Just do it.”
Lucy Bronze of England walks past Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, as she collects her runners-up medal after her side’s defeat in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on 20 August 2023. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
He continued, as reported by news.com.au: “With men, with FIFA, you will find open doors. Just push the doors. They are open. And do it also at national level, in every country, at continental level, in every confederation.”
Infantino went on to say that equal pay at the World Cup “not solve anything” in regards to the inequalities in the sport.
“It might be a symbol but it would not solve anything, because it’s one month every four years and it’s a few players out of the thousands and thousands of players,” he said, “We need to keep the momentum. We need to push it. We need to go for equality but we have to do it for real.
“And you, here in this room, all the women in this room, you have the power to do it. So believe in it.”
This is not the first time Bronze has snubbed an official at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The Barcelona star refused to shake hands with referee Casey Reibelt following England’s 6-1 Group D bout with China on 1 August.
The slight was due to decisions by the ref against Bronze, which saw her declared offside in the build-up for a disallowed goal prior to half time and booked for a handball in the second half, which gave China a penalty.