FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Saturday criticized TV channels for offering “100 times less” to broadcast the women’s World Cup compared to the men’s.
Infantino was speaking in Auckland hours before next year’s Women’s World Cup draw in Australia and New Zealand, and with women’s football breaking new ground.
The World Cup in July-August will feature 32 teams for the first time and global interest is expected to reach a record high.
But without naming specific broadcasters, Infantino said bids submitted for television rights were far too low.
“The broadcasters are offering us 100 times less than what they are offering us for the men’s World Cup,” Infantino told reporters.
He accused the televisions of “pushing us to do more for equality and at the same time we are not going to accept these offers”.
Infantino said FIFA had invested $1 billion in women’s football in recent years.
The 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cups were a financial loss, but Infantino said: “The next World Cup will cost us around $400 million and we hope to break even.”
For the first time, FIFA plans to sell the commercial rights separately from the men’s tournament.
“We are trying to market the Women’s World Cup for the first time on our own,” he said.
The FIFA boss also assured that gay fans traveling to Qatar for the Men’s World Cup next month would be safe, although homosexuality is a crime there.
“I’ve said it before (already), I’ll say it again – regardless of nationality, origin, gender, sexual orientation, everyone is welcome in Qatar,” Infantino said.
Infantino has also confirmed that the FIFA Clearing House, aimed at regulating additional payments related to transfer fees, will come into effect on November 16.
“It will finally bring some transparency and accountability to the whole transfer market,” Infantino said.
“Payments to unknown locations or strange bank accounts will no longer be tolerated.”
He said the transfer market currently generates around six to seven billion dollars each year and predicts that figure will increase.
“We want to control that and make sure the money goes where it’s supposed to go.”