LONDON — Just four months after a public battle was allowed over the rainbow armbands that would obscure the start of the World Cup in Qatar, world football’s governing bodies have announced that players will be gay at this year’s World Cup. I am facing a similar question about whether I am allowed to express my support for the Rights Women’s World Cup.
It’s a fight that everyone involved agreed to never happen again.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in March that lessons had been learned from the incident. in Qatar. Infantino is looking to prevent another fight against some of the world’s top women’s players in their own championship and says a solution will be put in place before the Women’s World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20. promised.
But even when he was offering those assurances, FIFA had already found new ways to piss both players and partners off.
Almost agreed to a sponsorship deal to make Saudi Arabia a marquee sponsor of the women’s tournament through Visit Saudi’s tourism brand, Visit Saudi, without consulting the organizers in Australia or New Zealand. You would have seen dozens of gay players on the field for a match in a stadium advertising a trip to a certain country.
It was after weeks of silence, behind-the-scenes crisis talks and public condemnation from officials in both host countries that FIFA confirmed that the deal had been scrapped. Infantino dismissed the entire controversy over it:storm in a teacup” For others, it was more than that.
“In leadership you have to take a stand on issues you feel strongly about,” said James Johnson, chief executive of Football Australia, the country’s sport’s governing body. I got
“This is something that has taken us by surprise. So I decided to step into this opportunity with New Zealand.”
Australian players were particularly frustrated with the proposed Saudi sponsorship, Johnson said, adding that the situation strengthened the team’s attitude and used the tournament as a platform to promote the values they espoused. At least one Australian player said FIFA’s decision to bring the World Cup to Qatar and its willingness to bow to local attitudes was beneficial.
“I think the last World Cup, the Men’s World Cup, is a good example of what’s going on in the world and how much it can be wrong.”
“And I think there were some teams trying to express that. Obviously, playing the World Cup in that country was very controversial for many reasons. We can embody it, emulate it, and be proud of who we are as people.
Not only are some of the federations that bring their teams into the tournament, including England and the Netherlands, the two nations that have clashed most violently with FIFA over armbands in Qatar, but also prominent powers such as the United States and Germany. most important cause for
No plans for similar protests have been made public, but female players are less likely to take a step back than male players if FIFA tries to squash the message as it did in Qatar.Coming to Australia and New Zealand The team features some of the world’s most prominent female athletes, many of whom are comfortable speaking their minds. About Saudi Arabia again anything elseand encouraged by recent successes in battles as varied as equal pay and uniform design.
The women’s game is more advanced than the men’s when it comes to speaking freely about social issues, Gielnik said, and she predicts teams and players won’t hesitate to take advantage of the platform the World Cup offers. bottom.
“I think some things are controversial,” said Giernik, one of several gay players on Matilda’s squad. It depends on what you follow.”
It has not been easy for FIFA to withdraw from the Visit Saudi accord. Saudi officials were frustrated that Saudi Arabia would lose a deal that was part of a series of sponsorships agreed with FIFA to promote the kingdom. He was quietly added to the roster of sponsors at the Club World Cup in Morocco in January.
Infantino was clearly frustrated at having to change plans and disappoint Saudi Arabia, who had proven to be a major supporter of his own interests. He noted that it has an ongoing economic relationship with
“There is a double standard that I don’t understand,” Infantino said. I would like to see it.”
Australian football executive Johnson and others responded that Gulf states’ attitudes towards homosexuality were only part of the problem. At a recent event, officials spoke about how the tournament would also act as a showcase to boost tourism to both host countries, highlighting another reason for FIFA’s planned agreement: Saudi Arabia’s tourism has been very active. to emphasize that it has caused a lot of pain to
“It could have been Visit Finland, but it would still have been a problem,” Johnson said.