— Published 3 February 2023

A controversial contract

Controversy in sight. New Zealand and Australia, the two host countries of the 2023 Women’s World Cup (July 20 to August 20), have asked FIFA to explain the forthcoming announcement of a partnership contract signed for the event with the Saudi Arabian tourist board. The two national federations concerned have assured that they were not consulted by FIFA on this agreement with Visit Saudi. They explain that they have written jointly to the international body “to clarify the situation urgently“. For Kathryn Gill, the co-president of the Australian professional footballers’ union, FIFA must “respect all internationally recognized human rights and exercise its considerable influence when they are not respected or protected. The players’ goal is to make the 2023 Women’s World Cup a force for good and they will continue to hold FIFA to account when it undermines this.” Amnesty International has the same unqualified opposition. Its Australian campaigner, Nikita White, said she could not understand how FIFA could make a deal for a women’s World Cup with a country where “a woman cannot even work without the permission of her male guardian. The sponsorship of the Women’s World Cup by the Saudi authorities would be a textbook case of sports laundering.”