The controversy continues around the women’s soccer world cup. After the continuous protests at a global level for the sponsorship of Saudi Arabia to reach an agreement with the FIFAnow it has been the organizers of the most important women’s football event that have been emphatically against the tourist sponsor that the Arab country will carry out in it.
through the brand Visit Saudithe Asian country closed an agreement with the body in charge of taking the reins of the Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. A deal that raised blisters from the first moment and that triggered a series of criticisms by the different entities related to the Human rights and even from NGO’s as Human Right Watch.
This time the corresponding football federations have taken the floor. Both Australia and New Zealand have raised their voices against said sponsorship contract carried out by FIFA with Saudi Arabia. A problem that calls into question the celebration and leaves one of the most powerful organizations on the ropes, which could lead them to back down in their decision to keep it before the celebration.
[Críticas a la FIFA por el patrocinio de Arabia Saudí en el Mundial de fútbol femenino 2023 en Oceanía]
Both have publicly spoken out against the presence of the Saudi country in their stadiums and more so when FIFA wanted them to wear it on their shirts. Despite the fact that the entity chaired by Gianni Infantino has not affirmed that it exists, it has not denied it either, so it seems that the operation is continuing. However, the public statements of the federations could cause him to reconsider and take a step back in his decision.
From FIFA itself the matter has been treated as a step forward for women’s football, especially seen from the economic point of view. That contrasts with the reduced role of women within Saudi Arabia’s borders, which are closed and require the consent of men to carry out almost any action alone.
With four months to go, the only thing that remains clear is that both the Australian Federation and the New Zealand Federation have been against this supposed sponsorship of FIFA. Such has been the situation, that the oceanic entities have wanted to publish a statement showing their disagreement with the highest body in the world of football. In addition, it has been blunt in case there is one.
“Although the FIFA has not confirmed the agreement, based on the consultations we have had with our community, the main interested parties and our own position, we do not feel comfortable with it,” begins part of the statement issued by the organizers.
“soccer Australia has consulted on this matter with key stakeholders, including the government and Business partnersand there has been an overwhelming consensus that this partnership does not fit our collective vision of the tournament and does not live up to our expectations”, were the words of James Johnson, executive of the Australian Federation.
“While we await more clarity and information on the details of the partnership from the FIFAwe continue to deliver this clear message on behalf of soccer Australia, New Zealand soccer and our community”, they clarify about their impeccable position against the appearance of Saudi Arabia among the brands that sponsor said event. Among them are others of great prestige worldwide such as Coca Cola either adidas.
However, Visit Arabia has been pointed out as a maneuver by the Persian Gulf country to prepare its landing and host a World Cup event in the near future. An idea that has been around on the international scene for quite some time and that seems to crystallize with this sponsorship. The option of World Cup 2030 in a joint bid with Egypt and Greece has already come to consider even.
[Nueva polémica de la FIFA: nombra a Adriana Lima como embajadora y el fútbol femenino se rebela]
Since the news of the sponsor from Saudi Arabia was known, many personalities have raised a cry in the sky with the decision. From FIFA they wanted to defend this approach at first. And he did it with Fatma Samoura, secretary general of the organization.
“The mission is to organize the biggest and best Women’s World Cup in history this year and the fans, those who bring color, passion and atmosphere to the stadiums, will be an integral part of the tournament’s success,” insisted the general secretary of the FIFA about his position.
“It is a shocking disregard for the suffering and ongoing repression of the courageous defenders of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, to award the Saudi state-owned tourism company sponsorship of the 2023 Women’s World Cup,” she said. Minky Wordendirector of global initiatives of Human Rights Watch, defenders of Human Rights worldwide.
In addition, he also found the discrepancies of two of the most important soccer players. Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan were against the presence of Visit Arabia in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The OL Reign player considered it “totally inappropriate”. “It’s strange that FIFA has sought to have Visit Saudi sponsorship for the Women’s World Cup, when I myself would not even be accepted and supported in that country, so I just don’t understand it,” said the San Diego Wave.
Finally, the United States Soccer Federation followed in the footsteps of its players and released a statement through The Athletic in which it made clear its discomfort at the alleged contract signed by FIFA.
“US Soccer strongly supports human rights and equity for all and believes in the power of our sport to make a positive impact. While we cannot control how other organizations handle sponsorship selections for the tournaments in which we compete, we can express our concerns and we will continue to support our players,” the US federation said.
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