- Infantino urges broadcasters to pay fair rights fees to help bridge gender pay gap
- Swiss also confirms Visit Saudi will not sponsor upcoming tournament in Australia and New Zealand
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has said he wants equal prize money for the men’s and women’s World Cups in 2026 and 2027 but called on broadcasters to pay more for the rights to the women’s finals.
The Swiss confirmed a total payments package of US$152 million for this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, inclusive of team preparation funding and club release payments.
That is still some way short of the reported US$440 million prize money on offer to teams at last year’s men’s finals in Qatar, but Infantino is determined to bridge the gap – if broadcasters and sponsors step up.
He said that in some cases, the offers for the Women’s World Cup rights were 100 times lower than for the men’s tournament.
“Our ambition is to have equality in payments for the 2026 men’s and 2027 women’s World Cup,” Infantino said during the ongoing Fifa Congress in Rwanda, where the Swiss was elected unopposed to a new four-year term.
“This is the objective that we set to ourselves. Fifa is stepping up with actions, not just with words. But unfortunately this is not the case of everyone across the industry.
“Broadcasters and sponsors have to do more. Fifa is receiving between ten and 100 times inferior offers for the Women’s World Cup.
“These same public broadcasters who are paid by taxpayers’ money, they criticise Fifa for not guaranteeing equal pay to men and women.
“You pay us 100 times less, (but) your viewing figures are similar. Maybe 20, 25 per cent less for the women than the men, not 100 per cent. Well offer us 20 times less, offer us 50 times less, but not 100 times less.
“We need to all be on the same side in this fight for equality.”
In a statement, Fifa noted that the US$152 million prize pool for this summer’s tournament, which includes a reported US$40 million in preparation funding, is more than three times the value from the last tournament in 2019, and ten times more than in 2015.
Infantino, who will continue to serve as Fifa president until at least 2027, also confirmed Visit Saudi would not be a sponsor of the tournament, but described the controversy around the issue as “a storm in a teacup” and accused critics of the reported deal of having “double standards”.
The host associations of Australia and New Zealand had spoken of their concern that the company was reportedly in discussions with Fifa over sponsoring the tournament, given Saudi Arabia’s record on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
“There were discussions with Visit Saudi and in the end this discussion did not lead to a contract,” Infantino said. “So there was a storm in a teacup. There isn’t anything bad in making sponsorships from Saudi Arabia, from China, from the United States, from Brazil or from India.
“Fifa is a global organisation. I understand when it comes to Australia that Australia has trade with Saudi Arabia of around one and a half billion. This doesn’t seem to be an issue.
“There is a double standard there which I don’t understand.”
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said: “We welcome clarification from Fifa regarding Visit Saudi.
“Equality, diversity and inclusion are really deep commitments for Football Australia and we’ll continue to work hard with Fifa to ensure the Women’s World Cup is shaped in this light and it is a historic event for our nation, showcasing the world’s greatest female players and advancing the game globally.”