(CNN Spanish) — The official poster of the Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup is a colorful artwork featuring the silhouettes of three women. In the center is a soccer ball. For FIFA, the creation is meant to symbolize the positive change registered by the most popular sport in the women’s branch. This mutation of recognizing the value of women’s football not only in its competitiveness, growth and visibility, but also in trying to give it more and better status by pulling it out of the corner, is something that has had a strong momentum in 2023.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino made a strong statement of principle in March refusing women’s football to be treated with contempt, a back-sight and gender-based mistreatment by TV-related businesses at the upcoming Women’s World Cup .
The FIFA president warned: “Women deserve much, much more and we are there to fight for them and with them.” Gianni Infantino was referring to the proposals received from television broadcasters regarding the remuneration to earn the right to broadcast this ninth edition of the World Cup on television. According to his statement, FIFA has received up to 100 times less offers for the rights than they pay the federation for the men’s World Cup.
Infantino acknowledged that women’s matches attract between 20% and 50% less audience than men’s matches, and along the same lines he assured: “Well, offer us 20% less, 50% less, but don’t 100% less”.
The FIFA president strongly defended himself at the FIFA Congress held in March in Kigali (Rwanda), after receiving a letter from the World Union of Professional Footballers (Fifpro), which asked for equal pay and bonuses, conditions and infrastructure, among that footballers receive compared to what men are paid.
A budget of 500 million dollars
“Today we are embarking on a historic journey for women’s football and for equality,” Gianni Infantino told the FIFA Congress, after being re-elected for another four years in office. The football strongman has publicly announced the substantial budget increase that the organization will give to the World Cup in Australia – New Zealand 2023.
FIFA will award $152 million to the competition, three times more than in the previous edition, France 2019, and ten times more than Canada 2015. The amount that the associations will receive will increase from $30 million in 2019 and from 15 USD million in 2015, to USD 110 million in 2023. FIFA’s remaining contribution will be USD 31 million for all associations to prepare selected teams for the World Cup.
The rest is the $11m FIFA provides to clubs whose players participate in the World Cup, $3m more than it contributed in 2019.
Along the same lines, Sporting Intelligence released a report in 2018 stating that the salary received by Brazilian footballer Neymar was equivalent to that of 1,693 female footballers in the seven top women’s leagues.
US women’s soccer gets substantial improvement in revenue
Current world champions from the United States, also crowned in four of the eight World Cups and winners of four Olympic medals, presented themselves before the top leadership of their country’s soccer federation. Those big hits were the starting point of strong vindication. They would not accept a “no” to his request for a substantial improvement in their income, which had to be in line with their male peers. The settlement provided for a fee of $24 million and the same salary as the men’s branch.
Meanwhile, there has been progress in women’s soccer in Argentina, but it’s still a world of difference from the superpowered women’s soccer in the United States. In 2019, the Argentine Football Federation (AFA) made the women’s branch semi-professional, stipulating that every first division club must have at least eight contracted players. In 2022, every soccer player earned an average salary of $135.
Some matches are being won, but winning the championship of recognition is still a long way off
Broadcasting rights, ticket sales and other commercial deals such as sponsorships form the tripod that supports the economic value of football club revenues, experts explain. It is the core that helps to partially understand the reason for the substantially smaller distributional difference in money that women receive compared to men.
However, women’s football has increased its visibility, competitiveness and, little by little, recognition. There are two facts that deserve to be highlighted: 87,192 spectators were present in the Women’s Euro 2022 final between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London.
Similarly, the opening match to be held this Thursday by home side Australia against Ireland will have the massive backdrop of nearly 80,000 people who have exhausted the capacity of Sydney’s Accor Stadium, confirmed Dave Beeche, director overall of the World Cup. On the same day, at Eden Park stadium in Auckland, local New Zealand will host Norway, with 40,000 seats almost sold out.
FIFA is strongly committed to the success of this competition in terms of attendance, crowds and high level of football. Just a few hours until the start of this contest. It will be a month in pursuit of glory for 32 teams. Eventually, global women’s football will know if it has taken a new leap in pursuit of greater brilliance, status and recognition.