Women's World Cup prize money has risen from $30m in 2019 to $110m for this year's tournament in Australia and New Zealand; men's prize money in Qatar was $440m; FIFA aiming for 2027 women's tournament to match 2026 men's event
Thursday 16 March 2023 18:39, UK
Gianni Infantino has announced FIFA's intention for equal prize money by the 2027 Women's World Cup.
The money would match the 2026 men's World Cup by then, FIFA's president has announced.
Women's World Cup prize money is rising to $110m for this year's tournament, from $30m in 2019.
There will also be an additional $40m for team preparation money and for clubs who release players.
At the men's World Cup last year in Qatar the prize money on offer totalled $440m.
Earlier, Sky News reported FIFA was working on improved pay and conditions for players at the Women's World Cup.
A deal has been worked on around the FIFA Congress which is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda.
Concerns have been raised by players about prize money disparities ahead of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
While the prize pool for the men's World Cup in Qatar last year was $440m (£365m+), the cash to be split between teams is $60m (almost £50m) at the women's tournament.
The Women's World Cup has also added teams since France 2019 with 32 rather than 24 finalists - including European champions England.
Female players have lobbied their global union FIFPRO to push FIFA for equal pay.
FIFA's cash reserves have grown to $4bn.
Infantino has been re-elected as FIFA president for another four-year term at the governing body's congress of 211 member associations. He was first elected president in 2016.
Visit Saudi will not be a sponsor at the women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino has not ruled out future commercial opportunities for gulf nation in women's football.
The Saudi Arabia tourism board had been touted as a potential sponsor of the expanded 32-team tournament, which drew sharp criticism from a number of quarters, though Infantino says it is all a "storm in a tea cup".
The greatest ire came from Football Australia (FA), who said there was an "overwhelming consensus that this partnership does not align with our collective vision for the tournament and falls short of our expectations".
Other leading figures in the women's game also criticised the plan, including veteran U.S. forward Alex Morgan, who said it 'morally' did not make sense.
"There were discussions with Visit Saudi, but in the end these did not lead to a contract. So it was a storm in a tea cup," Infantino said at FIFAs Congress in Kigali on Thursday.
"But having said that, FIFA is an organisation made up of 211 countries. There is nothing wrong with taking sponsorships from Saudi Arabia, China, United States of America, Brazil or India."
Infantino added that critics of the potential sponsorship ignored the commercial arrangements that already exist between companies in Saudi Arabia and Australia.
"When it comes to Australia, they have trade with Saudi Arabia (worth) $1.5-billion per year. This doesn't seem to be a problem?
"There is a double standard which I really do not understand. There is no issue, there is no contract, but of course we want to see how we can involve Saudi sponsors, and those from Qatar, in women's football generally," he said.
FA chief executive James Johnson said in a statement they are pleased there is clarity on the situation.
"We welcome clarification from FIFA regarding Visit Saudi," he said. "Equality, diversity and inclusion are really deep commitments for Football Australia and well continue to work hard with FIFA to ensure the Women's World Cup is shaped in this light.
"It is a historic event for our nation, showcasing the worlds greatest female players and advancing the game globally."
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced reforms allowing women greater control over their lives in recent years but men still retain a tight grip on power in the kingdom.
FIFA approved plans on Tuesday for the biggest-ever men's World Cup in 2026.
At a meeting of the FIFA Council in Kigali, Rwanda, it will be confirmed that there will be 104 games in 2026 instead of the 64 games which were played in Qatar last year.
The extra 40 games are needed because the tournament is expanding from 32 to 48 teams.
The 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico and Canada will have 12 groups of four teams. The top two teams will advance to a round of 32 with the eight best third-placed teams.