Left Menu
Development News Edition

Soccer-FIFA seeks a billion World Cup viewers to boost women's game

Reuters | Updated: 15-05-2019 21:17 IST | Created: 15-05-2019 21:17 IST
Soccer-FIFA seeks a billion World Cup viewers to boost women's game
FIFA is hoping that over a billion viewers tune in to the Women's World Cup in France as it continues strategic efforts to grow the game around the globe, but the governing body is still subject to criticism over gender equality.

The fact that hundreds of thousands of tickets have been sold indicates a strong interest in the women's game, but there is an even stronger desire among fans and players for rapid change that FIFA is struggling to contend with. The 2019 World Cup represents a chance for the governing body to show the world it is taking women seriously.

Long criticised for its lax attitude to women in the game, FIFA established a Women's Football Division in 2016 and is pursuing a three-pronged strategy to promote women's football and close the gap to the men. "We are looking forward to building on the number of viewers that will tune into the FIFA Women's World Cup. In 2015, 750 million people tuned in and this summer we want to bring that figure up to 1 billion," a FIFA spokesperson said.

FIFA hopes the additional exposure attracts new fans to a sport that is still mostly amateur, with only a handful of top players earning a living wage. Launched in October 2018, FIFA's strategy focuses on three pillars -- growing the game, enhancing commercial value and strengthening the foundations of women's soccer.

"The women's game is a top priority for FIFA," Secretary General Fatma Samoura said at the launch. PRIZE MONEY

The thorny issue of prize money for the Women's World Cup has been addressed, but proved to be something of a minefield. The pot has been doubled to $30 million and associations and clubs will also benefit from extra cash, but critics say the financial gap between the women's and men's events is still far too wide.

The prize fund for the men's World Cup in Russia last year was about 400 million euros ($448 million), with champions France said to have received 38 million euros – more than the total prize money for the women's tournament this year. The news prompted world players' union FIFPro to release a statement saying "football remains even further from the goal of equality for all World Cup players regardless of gender."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino accepted the criticism, saying the "critical comments are perfectly justified because the unions and the players, they defend their own interests, which is a fair point." The governing body is set to provide a platform for robust discussion with its first-ever Global Football Convention, which will take place on June 6 and 7 in Paris before the tournament gets underway.

"It will bring leaders from sport and politics together to discuss furthering diversity and equality, both on and off the pitch," Samoura said. The key challenge for FIFA will be to rapidly close the gender equality gap while growing the game in a sustainable way, and a successful World Cup in France will go a long way to building the internal and external support necessary to do so.

($1 = 0.8922 euros) (Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Simon Jennings)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Domestic seafood trade in focus as COVID-19 changes market dynamics

As predicted earlier in a report titled Seafood industry post-COVID 19 An overhaul to trigger the growth of small fisheries, one of the changes going ahead would be increased focus on domestic seafood trade, driven by falling exports and su...

Migration post-COVID 19: Taking cues from the past to rebuild economies

Migrants are an irreplaceable part of even the essential workforce of developed countries and are on the frontline in the fight against the crisis, making an immeasurable contribution to saving the lives of natives with voting rights....

Socialization Post-COVID-19: Local associations and online groups to play crucial role

Though every age group is suffering due to the global lockdown caused by the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges before adolescents are unique. Their social space has shrunk drastically, besides, they have become highly vulnerable to ...

Pharma post-COVID 19: Reducing political clout can alter business models

Powerful governments that have historically supported the pharma industry in enforcing global intellectual property rules are changing course and introducing legislation that can override normal patent rights during emergencies....

Videos

Latest News

South Korea reports 16 new cases of coronavirus

South Korea reported 16 new cases of the coronavirus as official scramble to stem transmissions with 2 million more children returning to school this week. The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Mond...

New Zealand's Ardern stays cool as earthquake strikes during live interview

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was unflustered by an earthquake that struck the capital Wellington on Monday while she was doing a live TV interview, and calmly continued with the programme. Ardern, who became prime minister in 2...

Dancing with disinfectant: China's nightclubs back in the groove

Nightclubs in China have mostly come back to life as owners and customers feel increasingly comfortable the novel coronavirus epidemic is under control, but disinfectant, disposable cups and masks have become part of the experience.At 44KW,...

Soccer-Players eager to restart contact training, says Palace's Townsend

Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend says players are desperate to return to contact training and that he is encouraged by the results of the Premier Leagues testing regime for the new coronavirus. The second round of testing returned two ...

Give Feedback