Panama's female soccer player threatens to quit national team after being 'fat-shamed' by federation president

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Panama's female soccer player threatens to quit national team after being 'fat-shamed' by federation president
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Panama's World Cup history-maker Marta Cox has threatened to quit playing for her country after the nation's football chief called her "fat and out of shape".

Cox made history last year by scoring Panama's first-ever Women's World Cup goal with a stunning 35-yard free kick against France.

But the team had a woeful CONCACAF W Gold Cup over the last few weeks, crashing out without getting a single point in the group stage.

And Cox, who plays her club football for Xolos de Tijuana in Mexico's LigaMX, angered Manuel Arias, the president of Panama's football federation (FEPAFUT), afterwards when she criticised facilities back home.

Speaking to reporters, Arias lashed out specifically at Cox, including fat-shaming the team's attacking centerpiece.

Marta Cox stopped to talk about our league.

She's out of shape, she's fat, she couldn't move on the pitch.

It's very easy to talk, but she doesn't know anything about the Panama league for years, she doesn't know what's going on here.

On Thursday, Cox responded in 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.

We are the first to recognize that we were not up to par in the tournament, but that same introspection must go beyond just the players.

Personally, I believe that there were words used to describe me that certainly hurt me and that were unexpected.

I take advantage of this space to highlight that, if these types of situations become a constant, I will not return to defend the colors of the Panama national team.

FEPAFUT later posted an official statement expressing regret at Arias' words.

On International Women's Day... from the Panamanian Football Federation we regret the unfortunate term used by our president Manuel Arias in the local media.

He himself has pledged that it will not be repeated.

In the Federation we are committed to continue working for women's football, as we have been doing for the last five years through sports and training programmes focused on women.

That said, we know that there is still a lot more work to do.

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