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FIFA drops Visit Saudi sponsorship for Women's World Cup 2023

Published: 13:52, 19 Mar 2023 Updated: 13:37, 20 Mar 2023

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed that FIFA have dropped Visit Saudi as a potential sponsor for the upcoming Women's World Cup this year, in Australia and New Zealand. This comes as per BBC.

Infantino confirmed that talks between FIFA and Visit Saudi had taken place but the meeting could not result in a contract being struck. That being said, the potential partnership never really got going following backlash from Australia and New Zealand. Infantino though was critical of the opposition that he received for conducting talks with Visit Saudi regarding a potential sponsorship deal. He said that there is a prevalent double standard when FIFA and Visit Saudi enter talks and that he doesn't seem to understand it all. 

"This doesn't seem to be a problem," he 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.

The Swiss Official said that the 211 countries that FIFA manages in the sport are on an equal pedestal for the organization and with the $1.5 billion worth of trade between the Gulf country and Australia, this shouldn't have been an issue. 

"Fifa is an organisation of 211 countries, for us they are all the same,

Continuing on from his previous term as president of FIFA, Infantino was unanimously re-elected earlier this week. Despite talks between FIFA and Visit Saudi hitting a dead-end, Infantino has not ruled out Saudi and Qatari sponsorships for FIFA events down the lane. 

Among other objectives, Infantino has claimed that FIFA has devised a three-point plan for the development of Women's football. The primary objective involves guaranteeing equal pay for both men and women at the end of a world cup and FIFA aims to achieve this by 2027. Second, the idea is to have level conditions and facilities for men and women featuring in the World Cups. Infantino has said, however, that having equal pay for men and women by 2027 will be 'most complicated'. 

For now, though, the focus is also on increasing the prize money at the end of a women's World Cup. For instance, Qatar 2022 World Cup had prize money of £395 million but the women's marquee event this year has only £126 million as the prize. This is, however, an improvement from the 2019 women's World Cup in which the prize money was only £25 million. 

The World Players' union Fifpro acknowledged Infantino's plan of attaining equal pay saying, "The progress announced today demonstrates the intent of the players and Fifa to work proactively towards greater equity and equality for the industry."

The Women's World Cup this year will feature 32 teams and will run from 20 July and 20 August. BBC and ITV will telecast the tournament in the UK. 

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