FIFA President Gianni Infantino has hailed the remarkable transformation brought about by the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 in women's football. He called upon governments, member associations, broadcasters, and media to sustain the momentum towards gender equality beyond the tournament's conclusion on Sunday.
Addressing the inauguration of the Second FIFA Women's Football Convention in Sydney, Infantino extended his gratitude to Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand for jointly hosting what he described as "undoubtedly the finest, grandest, and most extensive FIFA Women's World Cup to date."
"This edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup has triggered a true transformation, not only within the borders of Australia and New Zealand but across the globe," he asserted. "Throughout the host nations, we witnessed nearly two million spectators filling the stadiums – a testament to its universal appeal – with two billion tuning in worldwide. It transcends mere national allegiance; it's a spectacle that resonates for its sportsmanship and entertainment value."
Infantino underlined the pivotal role of Australia and New Zealand in this achievement, emphasizing that their collaboration was integral to the tournament's enchantment. Australia's Minister for Sport, Anika Wells, concurred, affirming that the tournament's conclusion heralds the inception of a new sporting era in Australia. She stated, "While the curtain may fall on this chapter of the FIFA Women's World Cup, it marks the dawn of a fresh era for sports in Australia.
“Our dormant potential has been aroused. This World Cup has not solely redefined women's football; it has redefined women's sports as a whole. Australia is now a football nation. My gratitude to FIFA for expediting our journey towards gender parity."
The FIFA President emphasized the collective effort required in sustaining progress and called upon the organization's partners to play their part. "It's a collaborative endeavor. We invite the participation of UN agencies, who have been instrumental in this World Cup, to continue engaging with us. We look to governments and institutions to establish dedicated spaces for women's sports, especially football. Our partners and sponsors are urged to remunerate fairly. The media's role is pivotal," stated Mr. Infantino.
He urged broadcasters to adopt equitable compensation practices for women's football, extending beyond the FIFA Women's World Cup to encompass women's football at large, across nations and leagues.
Infantino urged FIFA's member associations to establish women's leagues, acknowledging that several players who had showcased their talents during the tournament lacked professional opportunities in their home countries.
"Not all female players can seek placements with clubs in Europe or the USA. Over the next four years, we must foster an environment where they can play professionally within their homelands. This presents our most significant challenge," the FIFA president asserted.
Highlighting the tournament's triumph, Infantino commended the decision to expand the event from 24 to 32 teams. He stated, "FIFA's foresight has been validated. With the increased number of teams, eight debutants emerged, and numerous countries realized newfound prospects for participation. Every nation now has an opportunity to shine on the global stage."
Infantino underscored that the tournament showcased elevated standards while achieving financial equilibrium, generating a revenue of USD 570 million.
Concluding, the FIFA president implored the assembled audience to engage on all fronts. "Equality starts with treating women and men equitably. To all women, remember your transformative power. FIFA offers open doors; all you must do is push. Whether at the national or continental level, keep pushing, persist in your momentum, nurture your aspirations, and let us steadfastly pursue complete equality."