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Yalla Shoot :Women’s World Cup 2023: Fifa president Gianni Infantino jokes about Qatar speech

Fifa president Gianni Infantino pictured in Auckland, New Zealand, in front of the Women's World Cup trophy
Fifa president Gianni Infantino pictured on Wednesday in front of the Women’s World Cup trophy
Hosts: Australia and New Zealand Dates: 20 July-20 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website & app. Full coverage details;Latest news

Fifa president Gianni Infantino says he only wants to talk about positive things during the Women’s World Cup when asked about issues such as gender pay disparity.

In November, Infantino said: “Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel a migrant worker.”

On Wednesday, he said he felt tired after only just arriving in New Zealand.

“It’s a great moment to be here,” Infantino added.

“For those of you who are waiting to hear how I feel today…today I feel tired because I have just landed. But I feel very happy.”

Co-hosts New Zealand kick off the tournament against Norway at Eden Park on Thursday (08:00 BST kick-off) before Australia, who are also hosting the Women’s World Cup, play the Republic of Ireland in Sydney later the same day (11:00).

Infantino was asked about a range of issues surrounding the women’s game.

Australia’s squad have criticised the gender disparity in World Cup prize money and the fact some nations do not have collective bargaining rights.

“Today is the eve of the opening game of the Women’s World Cup and for me it’s a moment to focus on the positives,” he added.

“Until the 20 August [date of the final] you will only hear positive things from me about everything and everyone and if somebody is still not happy about something then I am so sorry.

“As of 21 August we focus on some other issues around the world. We will deal with all the problems coming up. But seriously we have made important steps and made a path.”

Australia midfielder Tameka Yallop
Tameka Yallop was one of 23 Matildas players to feature in a video criticising pay disparity three days before the tournament begins

For the first time, Fifa will directly pay players at the Women’s World Cup. Amounts increase for the deeper that teams progress, ranging from about £24,000 per player for the group stage to just over £200,000 allotted to each champion.

Infantino said it was up to federations to make sure money promised by Fifa gets to players.

“Whatever payments we do, we do through the associations. And then the associations make the relevant payments to their players. But we are in touch with the associations.”

Infantino had threatened a European TV blackout if rights offers were not improved.

The BBC and ITV announced five weeks before the tournament they had agreed a deal with Fifa to broadcast the Women’s World Cup in the UK.

“Many people who still believe that women’s football is not a great game or not so entertaining or it’s a bad copy of men’s football, when they watch a [women’s] game for the first time they will see it’s a fantastic game and it’s very entertaining,” he added.

“The level has grown incredibly over the last 10 years.

“We want to see all over the world at least one hour a week of women’s football streamed by the main broadcasters because that is the only way to promote the game.”

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