Sweden players had to show genitals to prove they were women

The case happened before the 2011 World Cup. The Swedish player describes the situation as “humiliating”.

Former soccer player Nilla Fischer released the biography I Didn’t Even Say Half of It (“Nem Sequer Disse Metado”), where he made shocking revelations about the time he played for the national team.

Fischer, who represented Sweden for more than 20 years and has capped 194 caps, said that the national team players had to undress in front of a medical team, following a controversy with the Ecuador national team, which was accused of including men during the 2011 World Cup.

And the worst comes later. The team had to show their genitals to prove they were female, an experience Nilla described as “humiliating”.

“We were told that we shouldn’t shave ‘down there’ in the days before and that we would show the doctor our genitalia” wrote Nilla, quoted by The Guardian newspaper. “Nobody understood why we didn’t shave, but we did as we were told and thought ‘how did it come to this’?”.

“Dispatch that shit”

Playing in the women’s soccer world cup overcame the desire to put an end to the moment. “No one wants to jeopardize the opportunity to play in a World Cup. We have to get the shit out of the way no matter how sick and humiliating it is,” she wrote.

The players undressed in front of the national team’s physiotherapist, who checked the athletes’ gender and reported it to the head of the medical team. “When everyone on the team was checked – that is, exposed vaginas – our team doctor signed a document that Sweden’s women’s football team consists of women only,” reads the book.

Despite the embarrassment of the situation, Fischer underlined that the team did its best to make the players feel comfortable. “We had a very safe environment in the team. So it was probably the best environment to do it. But it is a very strange situation and, in general, not comfortable”.

That year, FIFA changed the policy for “verification of the gender of athletes” and it is the one that remains until today: the national teams sign a declaration guaranteeing that the players are all women and the method to determine the gender is up to the discretion of the respective federations.

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