FIFA may cancel controversial plans to allow Visit Saudi to sponsor the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after protests from key players and regulatory authorities.
FIFA will abandon plans to include Visit Saudi as a sponsor of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The Athletic reports that the decision will be made by football’s governing body after several of the world’s greatest players criticized the plan due to the nation’s record on women’s and LGBTQ rights.
In Saudi Arabia, same-sex relationships are prohibited and women’s rights are severely restricted.
The Netherlands forward Vivianne Miedema, who is in a relationship with Arsenal teammate and England international Beth Mead, asserted that the organization should be “very humiliated” for considering Visit Saudi a realistic option.
Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan of the United States also criticized the rumors, with Rapinoe describing FIFA’s plans as “completely unacceptable” and Morgan calling the concept of forging a deal with a Saudi corporation “bizarre.”
In July and August, the trans-Tasman neighbors will stage the largest women’s football event.
Sportsmail reported earlier this month that Optus and Sky made their opinions known to the governing body when it was revealed that a contract with Visit Saudi was being discussed for the event.
James Johnson, the chief executive officer of Football Australia, stated that a contract with a Saudi corporation would be “uncomfortable” and that a “overwhelming consensus” of stakeholders agreed.
“While FIFA has not yet announced the relationship, based on conversations with our community, important stakeholders, and our own perspective, we would not be happy with it,” he explained.
“Although we await additional clarity and information regarding the partnership’s specifics from FIFA, we will continue to convey this message on behalf of Football Australia, New Zealand Football, and our community.”
This collaboration does not correspond with our collective vision for the event and falls short of our expectations, as determined by Football Australia’s consultations with key stakeholders, including government and commercial partners.
Andrew Pragnell, his colleague from New Zealand, also encouraged FIFA to reconsider its plans to negotiate a contract with Visit Saudi.
Yet, he observed that the statement from the governing body of world football did not clarify the situation and left the organizing nations in a condition of ambiguity.
Pragnell stated at the end of last month that FIFA’s statement neither confirmed nor denied a possible Visit Saudi sponsorship.
It did hint to the need of treating all member associations equally, as well as the significance of engagement over isolation.
Aside from that, it was mentioned that their media and partnerships team would approach out for additional conversations.
Really, we’re left in a bit of ambiguity as to what’s going on here, which is somewhat frustrating.
“Anything further I say would be speculation since I don’t know, but given the delay in the response and the lack of confirmation or denial, it is evident that our letter has prompted FIFA to reconsider this problem in some way.”