2023 World Cup star Marta Cox will 'not return' to national team after being called 'FAT' by FA President

Marta Cox playing for Panama in the CONCACAF Women's GOLD CUP against Brazil | Imago

2023 World Cup star Marta Cox will 'not return' to national team after being called 'FAT' by FA President

Ayoola Kelechi 18:27 - 09.03.2024

The Star who scored her team's first-ever goal at the FIFA World Cup was subjected to abuse from the FA President

Panama's soccer scene finds itself embroiled in controversy as midfielder Marta Cox makes a bold decision following disparaging remarks from the country's soccer federation president. 

Cox, a pivotal figure in Panama's football landscape, has vowed not to represent her national team again after being publicly criticized for her physical appearance by FEPAFUT president Manuel Arias.

Cox made history last year during the 2023 Women's World Cup by scoring Panama's first-ever goal in the tournament. Her remarkable 35-yard free kick against France not only etched her name in the record books but also showcased her talent and skill on the global stage.

A Harsh Critique

The saga unfolded after Panama's disappointing exit from the CONCACAF W Gold Cup, where they failed to secure a single point in the group stage, suffering heavy defeats against Colombia and Brazil. Cox, who had previously expressed concerns about the lack of adequate facilities in Panama, found herself in the crosshairs of Arias's criticism.

"Marta Cox stopped to talk about our league. She's out of shape, she's fat, she couldn't move on the pitch," Arias told local media, sparking outrage within the football community. His comments not only targeted Cox's physical appearance but also questioned her abilities as a player.

Taking a Stand

In response to the criticism from Arias, Cox issued a statement through Panama's Association of Professional Footballers. "After the World Cup, I expected so much more. That desire to see steady progress led me to speak out after an unfortunate performance in the Gold Cup," she asserted. "We are the first to recognise that we were not up to the standard of the tournament, but that same introspection must go beyond just the players."

Expressing her disappointment at the hurtful remarks directed towards her, Cox made it clear that she wouldn't tolerate such treatment. "If this type of situation becomes a constant, I will not return to defend the colours of the Panama national team," she affirmed. Cox's stance underscores the importance of respect and dignity in sports, highlighting the need for accountability within football's governing bodies.

Marta Cox's decision to step away from representing her national team serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of words and actions within the realm of sports. As Panama grapples with the fallout from this controversy, Cox's stand against discrimination and body shaming resonates not only within the football community but also beyond, sparking conversations about respect and inclusivity in sports.