“There were talks with Visit Saudi but in the end no contract was signed. It was a storm in a tea cup,” said Gianni Infantino, referring to the reaction from Australia and New Zealand.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will not be sponsored by Saudi Arabian tourism, the president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) said on Thursday.
“There were talks with Visit Saudi, but in the end no contract was signed,” Gianni Infantino told a news conference after being re-elected FIFA president at the institution’s 73rd congress in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
“It was a storm in a kettle,” Infantino added, referring to the February reaction from Australia and New Zealand to the announcement that the tournament, which runs from July 20 to August 20, could be sponsored by Saudi Arabia. . for the history of that country in terms of women’s rights.
The New Zealand Football Association said it was “shocked and disappointed” that FIFA had not consulted them.
“FIFA is an organization made up of 211 national federations, there is nothing wrong with accepting alliances from Saudi Arabia, China, the United States, Brazil or India,” Infantino defended, however.
The Australian and New Zealand soccer federations welcomed FIFA’s announcement.
“We welcome the clarification,” the Australian rules football leader said in a statement. “Equality, diversity and inclusion are very important commitments” for the Australian FA, James Johnson stressed.
“We believe it is essential that all trade associations align with the vision and values of the tournaments in which they participate,” the New Zealand FA said.
In December, the UN Human Rights Council named Saudi Arabia one of the world’s top five countries for violating human rights, stressing that women are particularly vulnerable to abuse.
North Korea, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia on the list of the biggest human rights violators
Women are victims of strong discrimination in Saudi Arabia, which the country explains with its special Islamic character which, according to the authorities, justifies a social and political order different from that of the rest of the world, the list points out.
The FIFA president said on Thursday that bonuses to players and compensation to clubs related to the Championship The 2023 World Cup had tripled to $152 million (143 million euros).
However, he stressed that television operators have not been interested in broadcasting the women’s World Cup: “If they offer us 100 million (dollars, 94 million euros) for the men’s World Cup, they offer us one million (dollars, 940 thousand euros ). ) or less for the women’s tournament, while broadcasters criticize FIFA for gender equality on the issue of bonuses”.
“They may offer 20% less or even 50% less, but not 100% lessWomen deserve more, much more, and we are here to fight alongside them,” she said.
In February, the Portuguese women’s team secured unprecedented qualification for the World Cup, where it is part of Group E with two-time world champions the United States, runners-up the Netherlands and Vietnam.