FIFA President Encourages Strategic Efforts for Gender Equality in Football
FIFA Chief Urges Women to Strategically Drive Equality in Football
In a statement that has ignited conversations around gender equality in football, Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, urged women to strategically choose their battles to push for progress in the sport. Speaking at FIFA’s Women’s Football Convention in Sydney ahead of the Women’s World Cup final between Spain and England, Infantino stressed that women possess the power to drive change and urged them to “convince us men what we have to do.”
“I say to all the women — and you know I have four daughters, so I have a few at home — that you have the power to change. Pick the right battles. Pick the right fights. You have the power to change, to convince us men what we have to do and what we don’t have to do. You do it. Just do it.”
The remarks were met with mixed reactions, receiving tepid applause from the convention attendees. Ada Hegerberg, a prominent striker from Norway, took to Twitter to respond to Infantino’s comments: “Working on a little presentation to convince men. Who’s in?”
Infantino further emphasized the inclusivity FIFA is striving for within football, expressing that doors are open for collaboration with men to achieve equality.
“With men, with FIFA, you will find open doors. Just push the doors, they are open.”
Notable Progress in Prize Money:
FIFA has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing the status of women’s football by significantly increasing the prize money for the Women’s World Cup. The current World Cup saw a threefold increase in prize money compared to the 2019 edition, with the total purse, which also includes compensation for clubs releasing players, skyrocketing from $50 million to $152 million.
However, despite these advancements, there remains a considerable disparity between the prize money awarded to men and women. While the total prize pool for the Women’s World Cup has notably risen, it still falls significantly short of the staggering $440 million distributed during the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar.
Financial Performance and Strategic Direction:
In defending FIFA’s approach, Infantino highlighted the financial success of the Women’s World Cup, which generated over $570 million in revenue. He stated, “This World Cup generated over $570 million in revenue and so we broke even,” affirming that the tournament had achieved commendable financial stability.
Infantino reiterated the organization’s determination to continue improving, acknowledging that while progress has been made, there is still much work to be done. “But we are on the right path,” he added.
Expansion and Global Representation:
Addressing the expansion of the Women’s World Cup to accommodate 32 teams, Infantino defended FIFA’s decision against skeptics’ concerns of lopsided scorelines and unequal competition. The President pointed to the success of the expanded format, which witnessed several high-ranking teams being eliminated early, allowing countries like Jamaica, Morocco, and South Africa to make historic appearances in the knockout stage.
“They were saying: it’s not going to work, the level is too different, you will have 15-0 scores, it will be bad for women’s football and its image,” Infantino recalled. “But I’m sorry, FIFA was right, FIFA was right. We had many countries around the world who thought they now have a chance to participate. Everyone now believes there is a chance to shine on the global stage.”
Infantino’s remarks have ignited conversations on the direction of women’s football, with many applauding the strides made and others calling for continued progress toward true gender equality within the sport.