The Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will start on July 20 with the challenge of becoming the most egalitarian edition in history. But, 40 days after its inception, some setbacks, such as the severe inconveniences for the commercialization of the TV rights of the competition, still threaten more forceful steps towards complete equality with men's football.
For the first time since the first official edition of the championship, in 1991, 32 teams will compete in the competition, the same number of teams that received the men's World Cup in Qatar 2022 that Argentina won at the hands of Lionel Messi. But the number of participants is not the only item that FIFA matched.
The parent company of the ball confirmed in the last hours that it will match the conditions and prizes with respect to the men's World Cup and announced that each player who is proclaimed champion will receive $ 270,000, while the team that reaches the gold will get 4.29 million of the US currency.
All players participating in the tournament will also have guaranteed remuneration, an initiative with which FIFA "hopes to set a precedent in the sector, ranging from the media to governments."
"The average salary of a professional soccer player is approximately $ 14,000, so the amounts reserved for this innovative distribution model will positively impact the life and professional career of each of these players. In addition, member associations will also receive historic amounts based on their performance in the competition, which they will be able to reinvest in their country's football and which we are sure will contribute to further driving the development of women's football," said Gianni Infantino, FIFA President.
The women's soccer team said goodbye in San Nicolás before playing the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The awards, in figures
Amounts per participating member federation:
- Group stage: $1,560,000
- Eighth-finals: $1,870,000
- Quarterfinals: $2,180,000
- 4th place: $2,455,000
- 3rd place: $2,610,000
- Runner-up: $3,015,000
- Champion: $4,290,000
Remuneration (per player)
Group stage: $30,000
4th place: $165,000
3rd place: $180,000
Record number of tickets sold
With just over a month to go until kick-off, Infantino announced that more than one million tickets to attend the matches have already been sold, which exceeds the total sales recorded at the 2019 World Cup in France and represents another "historic milestone".
"As I write this, 1,032,884 tickets have been sold. This means that with more than a month to go, we have surpassed the numbers sold for France 2019, meaning Australia and New Zealand 2023 is on track to become the most attended FIFA Women's World Cup in history," Infantino said in a statement. "The future is women," she said.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants men's and women's football to be fully equal. Photo: Capture TV.
Problems with TV, the flip side
But not all of them are flowers. With just a few weeks to go until the biggest event in global women's football, some European countries, including Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, have not yet reached an agreement on the broadcast of the matches, which could threaten the reach of the broadcasts.
A few days ago, FIFA's director of media relations, Bryan Swanson, denounced on his Twitter account that some European television networks offered values of only between 1% and 3% for the broadcasting rights regarding the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Therefore, he made a public appeal for "justice and respect" and recalled that "more income" translates into "more investment in women's football".
On Friday, while negotiations are still underway, FIFA said that the arguments presented by the television networks for the low offers "are not very consistent."
Australians Sarah Hunter, Courtney Nevin and Clare Hunt take a selfie with the trophy they will all seek at the World Cup. Photo: AFP
They added that FIFA "is making great strides in boosting the sport" but needs the "support and commitment of all sectors."
Infantino himself repeatedly criticized broadcasters in five of the world's most footballing countries - Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy - for offering "between 10 and 100 times less" to broadcast the Women's World Cup against the men's tournament. Angry, the FIFA boss even went so far as to threaten a television blackout in those countries if European broadcasters do not offer "a fair deal".
The urgency of the matter led the governments of these five countries to issue a joint statement in which they express their "concern" about the impasse and urge FIFA and broadcasters to "quickly reach an agreement" that guarantees the transmission.
"We are convinced that media coverage of the Women's World Cup will be decisive in improving the global visibility of women's sport in our European countries."
"We see it as our responsibility to fully mobilize all stakeholders to reach a swift agreement," he said.
The impact of the absence of a clear resolution on the possible broadcast of the matches is already felt among fans: there are few or no announcements, references to coverage or special calls for viewers.
Instead, the potential public and fans in those countries were left in a limbo in which doubts reign. In the end, for millions of fans, television will be the only opportunity to accompany one of the biggest global sporting events to take place on the other side of the world.
With information from EFE