FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, insist their preliminary plan to host the World Cup every two years would be good for football. The problem is, when they say that, they seem to be talking about the male side of the sport. As usual with FIFA, the women’s competition was an afterthought, although the plan for the semi-annual World Cup may have had the most impact.
First of all, let’s be clear about what the biennial World Cup means: it’s the World Cup every year, for both men and women, if FIFA achieves it. The result is an unprecedented busy schedule and there will always be a World Cup qualifier for men or a World Cup qualifier for men. When will women’s football be central? Will women’s football enjoy being the biggest singles league again at some point?
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FIFA has campaigned so hard to convince everyone that the semi-annual World Cup is a good idea, even asking former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger and former USWNT coach (and now coach- NWSL Chief, San Diego Wave FC) Jill Ellis to make it happen. pressing. The organization has published economic studies that should generate more World Cups $ 4.4 billion more In the first four-year cycle alone, which will increase to $ 16 million in additional solidarity payments for each FIFA member during this period. FIFA too quick scan She reports that most fans around the world are in favor of an increased frequency of the Men’s World Cup (63.7% of respondents) and the Women’s World Cup (52.4%).
But what didn’t seem very interested in FIFA, at least not publicly, is how the World Cup half-year plan would remove women’s football from the traditional sporting scene and weaken the Women’s World Cup itself. .
More World Cup means fewer windows for other things
UEFA, which has opposed the idea from the start, Compilation of his study, who predicted that both World Cups would lose viewers if they became a more regular and less special event – but would lose the Women’s World Cup. Triple the audience Men’s Championship. After all, the Women’s World Cup will always face a big and renowned men’s tournament on this proposed calendar – a tough competition for women looking for attention.
Infantino now says the Men’s European Championships will change every four to every two years as part of his plan, which means the Women’s World Cup will still compete with the Men’s European Championship over the course of ‘a calendar year. But that’s in addition to the Men’s World Cup qualifiers, which in the past lasted 10 months in the European Union and over two years for CONCACAF. It will also be scheduled in addition to the South American Championships in South America, which may also need to be converted to a two-year cycle, and events already hosted twice a year, including the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the African Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, the European Women’s Championship – which in 2017 reached the highest number of viewers ever on television and set a record for the last time – is due to share the limelight with the Men’s World Cup. As a result, the UEFA study predicts that the women of the Euro He could see his sales fall by more than half Media and sponsor rights will lose their value considerably. The growth of a high-quality women’s tournament with huge potential is suddenly slowed down.
It wouldn’t be unique to Europe either. Other regional leagues around the world will struggle to find an open window to host a tournament, let alone a window where attention is not distracted from the top men’s tournament. As the fan culture surrounding women’s football continues to grow, the busy calendar men’s leagues will pick up the show that otherwise would go to the women’s leagues.
FIFA will of course indicate what additional income the new World Cup will bring and promise that the money will be spent to develop women’s football around the world. Here’s the catch: FIFA is already generating so much revenue – its last declared cash reserve was $ 2.74 billion – and has already failed to implement its first-ever women’s football strategy, which sets targets. ambitious to increase the participation of women in sport, but offers little through measures or budgets or concrete action plans.
FIFA, while wealthy, misdirects money where it is needed – countries large and small get the same discounts regardless of their needs – and less well calculates how that money is actually spent.
“Just delegate… FIFA forces everything”
If FIFA is concerned with the development and growth of women’s football, there is one World Cup that the Board of Directors can add: the FIFA Women’s Club World Cup. After all, women’s national competitions around the world are still evolving, which is a by-product of a sporting landscape in which women’s football was practically banned in countries like England, Germany and Brazil until the 1980s.
These tournaments allow the game to grow and become more professional. The club game builds support from grassroots fans and explains how a football career can become a viable path for women around the world. It may not be a coincidence that countries invest in their national competitions, success often follows on the international stage, as we have seen in the Netherlands, England and Australia.
Gap Marcotti and Julian Lorenz discuss the possibility of FIFA accepting the World Cup every two years.
The Women’s World Cup itself is also still growing. It will drop from 24 teams to 32 in 2023 when Australia and New Zealand host, and we’re likely to see plenty of results, like the infamous US 13-0 loss to Thailand in 2019. These skewed results , which are not unusual. in a role The Women’s World Cup groups are the result of the Gulf’s massive investment in their women’s programs from these different countries.
American star Megan Rapinoe has been criticized for celebrating the goals she scored in that 13-0 result, but in the mixed zone, after speaking to reporters, she hit the nail on the head: “He There are some here. Played a handful of games since the last World Cup. Or just in qualifying. It’s embarrassing not only for the federations, but also for FIFA. They just ordered it. They impose all kinds of things.
Rapino was right. FIFA can take steps to ensure that member associations are interested in and investing in women’s programs. This may force associations to lead active national teams that are already playing matches, or even to invest in national women’s competitions. It may be necessary to devote money and resources to specific measures to promote women’s play and then to actually verify that this is happening. FIFA has the ability to prioritize women’s football, rather than seeing it as an afterthought.
Instead, FIFA simply wants to increase the burden of resources countries have to spend trying to qualify and participate in the Women’s World Cup without any additional incentive to do so. Some may not even care. If the leagues are content to care about their men’s team, they most likely will.
The Nigeria women’s team staged a sit-in to protest the unpaid bonuses owed by their federation in 2019. Some women from the Brazilian national team resigned in 2019 to protest the lack of support from their federation after years of complaints. The Australian women’s team went on strike in 2015 to demand higher wages from their union. Players from Trinidad and Tobago asked for donations on social media in 2018 so they could make their way to their World Cup qualifiers. And so on.
Take Jamaica’s first qualifier for the Women’s World Cup in 2019 – it only came after Bob Marley’s daughter Cedla spent her own money to revive the team after the union stopped working finance it. It was, of course, meant to be a triumph for Reggae Girlz, but it was also a failure for a system that allowed unions to ignore female programming.
FIFA could push unions to show more interest in the Women’s World Cup by raising prices for all participants, but so far they have refused to do so, although there is no justification clear at that.
For the previous World Cup, FIFA offered 13 times more prizes for the men’s tournament than for the women’s tournament, but if you ask FIFA why 13 times specifically, inexplicable. 13th Men’s World Cup doesn’t generate twice as much revenue – media rights and sponsorship of men’s and women’s tournaments ALWAYS SOLD TOGETHER as a package, and FIFA I did not try to find out How many women have arrived was worth Where the prize money is distributed. The Men’s World Cup doesn’t attract 13 times as many viewers – last time it was only about 4 times. Tickets for the Men’s World Cup haven’t been sold 13 times – the last time it was about 3 times.
In fact, when FIFA doubled its prize money for the Women’s World Cup from 2015 to 2019, it significantly increased the prize money for men, while widening rather than narrowing the gap between men’s tournaments. and female. Given the recent record growth in the women’s tournament, it looks like the gap is set to narrow.
It’s hard to see FIFA’s logic for widening the gap unless you consider the possibility that FIFA doesn’t care as much about women’s football as you say. It is indeed difficult to give FIFA the benefit of the doubt after years of viewing women’s football as a secondary concern.
From synthetic turf at the World Cup, to comments from the former FIFA president that women’s shorts could help sport, to the glaring lack of investment, women’s football has received FIFA treatment than men’s football has not. did not suffer. Sadly, this plan for the semi-annual World Cup, which ignores the potential negative impact on women’s play, is the latest example.
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