FIFA president Gianni Infantino has set a target for prize money at the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be equal to payouts at the men’s tournaments.
Infantino, who was re-elected at Thursday’s FIFA congress after running unopposed, also denied there is a deal for Visit Saudi to sponsor the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The prize money for the 2023 World Cup is set to be $150million (£124m), a rise of 300 per cent from the 2019 tournament, with the number of competing teams increasing to 32 from 24.
The 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar involved prize money totalling $440m (£365m).
Infantino said that “broadcasters and sponsors have to do more” and be willing to pay more into the women’s tournament, adding: “FIFA is receiving between 10 and 100 times less from public broadcasters for the women’s World Cup than the men’s World Cup. Do you think that is normal?
“At the same, these public broadcasters who are paid by the taxpayers’ money, they criticise FIFA, a bit less the others, for not guaranteeing equal pay to men and women.
“You pay us 100 times less but your viewing figures are very similar, maybe 20-25 per cent less, not 100 per cent less. Well offer us 20 per cent less or 50 per cent less, but not 100 per cent less. How can we do it, otherwise?”
Regarding reports Saudi Arabia’s tourism arm was due to sponsor this year’s tournament, which sparked concern from football authorities in Australia and New Zealand, Infantino confirmed talks had taken place but said a deal was not reached.
“I can clarify that there were discussions with Visit Saudi,” the FIFA president said. “At the end, this discussion didn’t lead into a contract. How do you say it? It was a storm in a water glass. A storm in a teacup.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino re-elected by acclamation at historic FIFA Congress. President Infantino makes pledges to ensure continued growth of the global game. Substantial prize money increase for the FIFA Women’s World Cup announced
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) March 16, 2023
Infantino expressed his belief there had not been as much backlash around trade deals between Saudi Arabia, which has been criticised for alleged human rights violations, and Australia.
“This doesn’t seem to be a problem,” Infantino said. “But between a global organisation like FIFA and Visit Saudi this would have been an issue. There is a double standard here, which I really don’t understand.”
He added: “There is no issue and no contract. There are discussions and of course we want to see how we can involve Saudi sponsors in women’s football generally, how we can involve Saudi sponsors in men football, or we can involve Qatari sponsors in women’s football and men’s football, and all other sponsors from all over the world.”
The chief executive of Football Australia, James Johnson, was pleased to hear Infantino’s comments, saying: “Equality, diversity and inclusion are really deep commitments for Football Australia, and we’ll continue to work hard with FIFA to ensure the Women’s World Cup is shaped in this light.”