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FIFA may drop Saudi sponsor for Women’s World Cup after backlash

Sky News reports that FIFA may no longer sponsor Visit Saudia as a Women’s World Cup sponsor following a backlash from hosts Australia and New Zealand.

FIFA was also asked by players to stop allowing their tournament to be sponsored from a country that criminalizes same-sex relationships and where women have yet to attain full equality rights.

FIFA is establishing closer ties with Saudi Arabia. The tourism agency was prominently featured on sponsor backdrops for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and the Club World Cup in Morocco.

However, the Australia & New Zealand football federations complained to FIFA more than a month before, saying that Visit Saudi was not a suitable sponsor due to rights concerns and lack of consultation.


Sky News reports that FIFA has informed Australia and New Zealand of its willingness to resolve the dispute before the tournament opens in July.

This could mean that Visit Saudi is no longer able to get the prominent sponsorship it enjoyed at recent men’s events.

FIFA has not publicly stated plans to support Visit Saudi Arabia for the Women’s World Cup, but tournament hosts were shocked to read about it.

We wouldn’t be happy with sponsorship

Sky News interviewed James Johnson, CEO of Football Federation Australia, last month. He said that although there has been much progress in Saudi Arabia in the past four to five years, there are still some issues in Australia, especially with our girls and women.

Today, Johnson made a new intervention and stated that he would not be happy with sponsorship.

Andrew Pragnell, chief executive of New Zealand Football, has been quoted saying that there is “some kind of rethink” in FIFA regarding this issue.

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Did Qatar abandon human rights?

The tournament has grown from 24 to 32 teams to this edition. It opens in July with European champions England hoping to win their first Women’s World Cup.

Saudi Arabia’s women’s national soccer team has not yet been ranked by FIFA and will not be represented at the event.

Saudi Arabia’s most prominent role in football is through its ownership of Newcastle United since 2021 by the sovereign wealth fund, PIF.

FIFA declined to comment. The Saudi government did not respond.


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