Kitarovic Shows That Football Isn’t Just Boys’ Spectator Sport

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao
New Update
Croatian President

While the Croatian team lost the final to team France by 4-2, their grit and sportsman spirit has won us over. Outside the field, however, it was Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who exuded sportsman spirit and took the loss of her team in her stride. She stood soaking in the rain after the match and hugged the players from both sides.

A few days ago, President Kitarovic was photographed jumping with joy when her team defeated Russia, while the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev looked on unamused.

Yesterday, she stood soothing her players after a difficult loss in the finals, soaking to her bones in the heavy downpour. Kitarovic is an example for so many people who still consider football to be a men’s sport, both as players and spectators. Her enthusiasm for football wants them to look at the beloved sport, sans the sexism, they spew at female fans.

Photos of French President Emmanuel Macron and Kitarovic first rooting for their respective teams and then hugging each other after the match are going viral. Strip these photographs of gender, politics, power and rivalry and what you have is two football lovers sharing their emotions. One lost and another won, but in the end, both were celebrating the spirit of football.

Millions of young girls and women across the globe love to watch football. But they are usually meted a second-class treatment when it comes to fandom and following the sports.

Apparently, for many men, the understanding of rules of the game is something one inherits exclusively via a Y chromosome. Which is why every time a woman dares to make a comment on a pass, there is always that one man in the room who berates her simply because of her gender.


  • Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is a football superfan and rooted for team Croatia throughout FIFA 2018.
  • Kitarovic’s sportsman spirit must motivate people to drop sexist agendas in spectator sports.
  • Football is a game which brings us together, irrespective of our ethnicity, nationality and political affiliation. Then why must we remain divided as fans on basis of our gender?

It’s not easy for women to even be mere spectators in this adrenaline-fuelled sport, because apparently, we are too jumpy and don’t have guts of steel. And heavens forbid if one of us decides to veer into the commentary box. Our high-pitched voices due to excitement spoil the viewing experience, negating all the insight we have to offer.

So, when you have a female president of a country which is playing finals, rooting for her team from the viewing box, it sends out a strong message. That football is for everyone, even as a spectator sport. That they must not suppress their fandom just because some people belittle their love for the game on flimsy sexist grounds.

These pictures are a proof that it is within our capabilities to strip spectator sports of sexism. There is no difference between a male or a female fan. Everyone cries at a loss or becomes delirious on a win. Why then should we let our notions about gender prevent us from celebrating and mourning together? Isn’t bringing people together, the prime goal of a spectator sport? Doesn’t it make us forget our differences and be friends when the game ends? In the end, we are all united by the joy and thrill that these sports bring to us.

I hope the way Kitarovic has stood by and rooted for her team will motivate many girls to care less about the criticism they receive for being female football fans. It will also make people who ridicule or belittle them look at the sport in its true spirits. Because if your biased mentality prevents you from seeing someone else’s compassion for football, then you cannot truly call yourselves a football fan, can you?

Picture Credit: DNA India

Also Read : Jason Cundy’s Comments are A Testimony to Sexism In Football

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

2018 FIFA World Cup #FranceCroatia #WorldCupFinal Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic