FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed that women’s football has seen remarkable progress in the past decade and is certain that the Women’s World Cup will convince any doubters of the value of the women’s game.
The governing body of the sport anticipates that 2 billion individuals will watch the 64-game tournament, which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand and commences in Auckland on Thursday.
“Many people who believe that women’s football is still not a great game, or it’s not so entertaining or it’s kind of a bad copy of men’s football or some stuff like that – well when they watch a game for the first time they will actually see that it’s a fantastic game,” said Infantino.
“The level has grown incredibly in the last 10 years and the best are coming here.”
According to Infantino, if there is one sport where women’s football can rival men’s football, it would be football.
“I mean, it’s 50% of the population, women around the world, more or less, right?” he said.
“It’s really inconceivable, intellectually, that there is not one sport that can compete with some of the men’s sports.”
Auckland, a smaller city compared to its Australian counterparts, will host the opening ceremony and the first match between New Zealand and Norway on Thursday.
However, there is concern about the slow ticket sales in New Zealand, despite overall ticket sales surpassing 1 million more than a month ago. In response, FIFA announced last week that they would be giving away 20,000 free tickets in New Zealand.
“New Zealand: We want you. We need you,” said Infantino. “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura announced that a combined total of 1.375 million tickets have been purchased for the ongoing Women’s World Cup, which is the ninth edition of the tournament and takes place from July 20 to August 20.