“The Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019 is going to be the biggest women’s sporting event of the year”- Sarai Bareman (Fifa’s chief women’s football officer)
The FIFA 2019 World Cup (FIFA WC) has been running from the 7th June to 7th July 2019 in France, where 24 countries face each other in a competition of 52 matches. The host cities are Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. On these stages, 552 of the best professional players will battle for football’s greatest trophy. The favourites for this competition were the Canadians, the Brazilians and the current champions, the US national team (USWNT). But, let’s go back in time to understand the importance of this years competition.
International Women’s Day
On March 8, 2019, International Women’s Day, the official poster of the FIFA 2019 World Cup was revealed with the slogan, “Dare to Shine” (Le Moment de Briller, in French). The poster and the slogan together reflect the desire to empower girls and women through the love of the game, and more widely the love and practice of sports worldwide.
Adidas, one of the official sponsor of the competition announced that all the players on the winning team would receive the same bonus pay given to their male counterparts. Adidas seems to want to focus on celebrating the champions of the tournament, and not the sex of the players on the field.
On the same day he USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. In a country were football, or “soccer” is a sport democratised by women, all 28 players of the national team are accusing the federation of “institutionalized gender discrimination.”
In the United States, the legislation called Title IX passed as a part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, commonly referred to as the “Gender Equity Statute” prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. There is also a law called the Equal Pay Act (1963), which prohibits differential pay on the basis of sex, for substantially similar work. For instance, a sports program that allocates more funding to the men’s program than the women’s is in violation of Title IX and the Equal Pay Act. The remedies they seek are estimated to be worth millions of dollars. This legal challenge by the USWNT turned the World Cup from an already exciting sporting competition into a platform to promote equal rights.
This year’s competition is going to experience the first edition of Club Benefits Programme, in order to develop women’s game and improve its professionalisation to the tune of $8.48 million. The main goals of the programme are:
- To recognise the importance of professional clubs in creating a high-performance environment for the best players in the world
- To encourage clubs around the world to set up such high performance environments for the most talented players during their training years
- To provide funding on a global scale
- To reward to clubs whose players are participating in the World Cup
This is how the money is divided:
This year the prize money is double the amount awarded in the 2015 World Cup in Canada, from 15 to 30 million. (Still only 7.5% of the $400 million total prize money awarded to the 2018 men’s World Cup champions)
FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes “It’s a very important message for women’s football. It will certainly boost this World Cup even more,”
The prize money increase is a nice start but it still has a long way to go, at this rate, according to the Australian players’ union it will take until 2039 to reach equal pay.
The competition began with a sold-out Parc des Princes with hosts France facing Korea, and interest in the competition has grown and grown. FIFA’s French organisation committee created a commercial strategy to fill the stadiums for every game, and it is woking: the semi final tickets and the final tickets were sold out after 48hours.
It has been a competition for record breaking and despite the Brazilian national team being knocked out let’s celebrate individual players accomplishment:
- FORMIGA, 41 years old, was playing her 7th FIFA world cup, a record in both men and women’s tournament. In fact according to FIFA’s official website “150 players in France 2019 were not born when Formiga made her debut in 1995” for the Brazilian national team.
- MARTA, 33 years old, captain and 6 time winner of FIFA World Player of the Year became the top scorer in the World Cup history (all genders) by scoring a penalty against Italy on the 18th June in Valenciennes. Marta reached a total of seventeen goals surpassing German player Miroslav Klose who has 16 goals at in World Cup.
This year the World Cup reached further than it ever has before. There has been a global infatuation to advertise, talk and promote the competition. All of the 52 matches were produced in ultra high definition and covered by over 130 Media Rights Licensees. There have been a record number of people watching the matches on TV, records not excepted but welcomed by broadcaster who took a chance on the World Cup 2019 and were right to do so.
Who will lift the trophy of the FIFA 2019 World Cup? Find out tomorrow as the USA take on the Netherlands!
Let’s hope the USA wins so we can see another Trump twitter meltdown…
P.s. I hope readers noticed that in this article, the tournament was simply referred to as ‘the competition’, or the ‘World Cup’ – No need to qualify it with the players’ genders.