MANAMA, Bahrain — Manchester City allowed FIFA Player of the Year Carli Lloyd to miss a domestic league match in England on Tuesday, breaking off from preparations for the FA Cup final, to fly to the Middle East to promote world soccer’s governing body.
Lloyd is one of the "FIFA Legends" gathered by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the governing body’s annual congress in Bahrain.
The American forward is with City on a short-term loan from the Houston Dash for the Spring Series of the Women’s Super League. Lloyd skipped Tuesday’s game at Bristol City, which City won 3-0, to fly around seven hours to the Gulf. City said it gave Lloyd permission because the game was rescheduled due to the club’s Champions League progress.
"At the time, we didn’t have anything planned and I got the OK to go, then they rescheduled and… I probably wouldn’t have played today anyway," Lloyd told The Associated Press. "But when you get an opportunity like this, to be a part of FIFA and as a female footballer … it’s important to come.
"It’s important to bring awareness to our game, to be there with the fans and it’s great. I’ve never been to the Middle East, I’ve never been to Bahrain and it’s just another great experience."
Lloyd will return to England in time for Saturday’s Women’s FA Cup final, when City plays Birmingham.