Kiwi’s argue proposed Visit Saudi WWC 2023 sponsorship sends ‘disempowering’ message

February 2 – Former New Zealand international Maia Jackman has added her voice to the mounting discontent over the proposed Saudi sponsorship of the Women’s World Cup.

Jackman (pictured) says such a move would be in “complete opposition” to female empowerment and set back her work as an ambassador for the tournament this summer.

Co-hosts Australia and New Zealand wrote to FIFA on Wednesday seeking urgent clarification following reports that Visit Saudi will be named as a major sponsor of the tournament.

Jackman, part of a group of women promoting the World Cup, said accepting Saudi sponsorship would be a “disempowering message” for women.

“FIFA have so much power to change the world for females and this kind of comes out,” she told a New Zealand news website. “If (the Saudi sponsorship) goes to fruition, it would affect how people see the sport. It’s hard when we’re trying so hard to push things forward.”

Kate Gill, co-chair of players union Professional Footballers Australia, accused FIFA of reneging on its human rights commitments.

“Unfortunately, FIFA has consistently shown that they lack the willingness to meet their own stated commitments and this has eroded football’s ability to be a genuine force for good,” said the former Australia striker

New Zealand’s sports minister Grant Robertson said FIFA should consider his country’s progress on empowering women and girls.

“I would like to think that FIFA would understand that as well, and when they are thinking about their commercial arrangements that they would factor that in,” he said.

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