(Spanish CNN) — The official poster for the Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup is a colorful artwork featuring silhouettes of three women. In the middle, a soccer ball protrudes. For FIFA, the creation seeks to symbolize the positive change registered by the most popular sport of the female branch. This mutation of recognizing the value of women’s football not only in its competitiveness, growth and visibility, but also trying to give it bigger and better status by pulling it out of a corner, is something that has taken a strong momentum in 2023.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino stood in March with a strong statement of principles rejecting women’s football being treated with disdain, with a look over his shoulder and with gender-based abuse by companies linked to television of the next Women’s World Cup.
The FIFA President warned: “Women deserve much, much more than that and we are here to fight for them and with them.” Gianni Infantino was referring to the proposals he received from television stations regarding payment to win the right to televise this ninth edition of the World Cup. According to his statement, FIFA has received offers of up to 100 times less money for the rights, compared to what it pays the federation for the men’s World Cups.
Infantino acknowledged that women’s matches attract between 20% and 50% less attendance than men’s, and along the same lines he assured: “Well, give us 20% less, 50% less , but not 100% less.”
The FIFA President stood firm in his defense at the March FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, after receiving a letter from the World Union of Professional Footballers (Fifpro) demanding equality wages and prices, conditions and infrastructure, between what the players receive versus what is paid to the men.
A budget of 500 million dollars
“Today we begin a historic journey for women’s football and for equality,” Gianni Infantino told the FIFA Congress after being re-elected for another four years in office. The football strongman has publicly announced the big budget increase that the organization will give to the World Cup in Australia – New Zealand 2023.
FIFA will allocate US$152 million to the competition, three times more than for the previous edition, France 2019, and ten times more than for Canada 2015. The amount that federations will receive will increase from US$30 million in 2019 and 15 million US dollars. million in 2015, to $110 million in 2023. FIFA’s remaining contribution will be $31 million for all federations to prepare selected teams for the World Cup.
The rest is the $11 million that FIFA provides to clubs whose players attend the World Cup, which is $3 million more than it paid out in 2019.
In a similar vein, Sporting Intelligence published a report in 2018 stating that Brazilian footballer Neymar’s salary was equivalent to that of 1,693 female footballers in the top seven women’s leagues.
US women’s soccer achieves substantial increase in revenue
The current world champions of the United States, also crowned in four of the eight world cups, and winners of four Olympic medals, presented themselves before the leaders of the Football Federation of their country. These great achievements were the starting point for the strong claim. They would not accept a “no” to his demand for a substantial improvement in their incomes, which had to be in line with those of their male peers. The deal called for compensation of US$24 million and the same salary as the male branch.
Meanwhile, in women’s football in Argentina there has been progress, but there is still an abysmal difference compared to the super power women’s football in the United States. In 2019, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) made the women’s branch semi-professional, stipulating that every top division club must have at least eight players under contract. In 2022, each footballer earned an average salary of US$135.
Some games are won, but winning the recognition championship is still a long way off
Broadcast rights, ticket sales and other commercial arrangements such as sponsorships form the tripod that underpins the economic value of football club revenues, experts say. This is the core that helps to partly understand the reason for the substantially smaller difference in cash distribution that women receive compared to men.
However, women’s football is gaining visibility, competitiveness and, little by little, recognition. Two facts deserve to be highlighted: during the final of the Women’s Euro 2022, between England and Germany, 87,192 spectators were present at Wembley Stadium in London.
In the same vein, the opening match to be played this Thursday by the home team Australia against Ireland will have the imposing framework of almost 80,000 people who have exhausted the capacity of the Accor stadium in Sydney, World Cup General Manager Dave Beeche confirmed. On the same day, at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland, local New Zealand host Norway, with 40,000 seats nearly sold out.
FIFA is strongly committed to the success of this competition in terms of attendance, audience and high level of football. There are only a few hours left before the start of this contest. It will be a month in pursuit of glory for 32 teams. At the end, world women’s football will know if it has taken another leap forward in pursuit of greater brilliance, status and recognition.