United States forward Megan Rapinoe has accused football FIFA of not caring about women’s football in a carefully executed takedown of the game’s governing body ahead of tomorrow World Cup final against Holland
Rapinoe, who does not expect any of the US side to accept an offer to visit President Trump in the White Houseshould they win the tournament, did not hold back in her criticism.
Although FIFA president Gianni Infantino has pledged to double the women’s prize pot to $100 million (£80 million) – which includes money given to clubs for the release and development of their players – ahead of the 2023 tournament, there will be $649 million given out at the men’s World Cup in Qatar.
Rapinoe is not calling for equal prize money, but she did point out that the gap between the funds would actually grow rather than reduce, despite Fifa’s boasts about increasing investment.
The Seattle Reign player also highlighted that there would be three major international finals taking place today, including the US men’s team against Mexico in the final of the Concacaf Gold Cup against Mexico, as well as Brazil v Peru in the final of the Copa America.
Of course, we don’t feel respected,” said Rapinoe, who has declared herself fit to play against Holland after missing the England game with an injury. “It’s terrible scheduling, it is a terrible idea to put all three on the same day in every way.
“There are two other finals going on, but this is the World Cup final, cancel everything day. I don’t know how that happened and I heard somewhere they just didn’t think about it, which is the problem. When the World Cup is set so far in advance it’s unbelievable.
“We don’t feel the same level of respect that FIFA has for the men, or just in general, but good to hear about investment. They should probably double it but we will get to that later.”
And she did, cutting through the Fifa spin to argue the gap between the men’s and women’s prize funds should be narrowing, not widening.
“It’s certainly not fair,” she added. “Double it now and use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time. I think that is what I mean when we talk about, ‘Do we feel respected?’
“I read FIFA cares about the women’s game. If you really care about the game in the same way, why are you letting the gap grow?
“We’re not asking for $450 million. For lots of different reasons the men’s game is far more advanced financially than the women’s game, but if you are letting the gap grow and scheduling three finals, and you are you letting federations play two games against each other in the four years between tournaments… no.
“We need attention and detail and the best minds in the women’s game helping it grow. It is a very complex problem and thing to be a part of, but the resources are there and brainpower is there, it’s all there.
“It’s just wanting to do it and caring enough about it to make it happen.
“We are making a [men’s] World Cup in Qatar happen, that’s how much they care about the men’s World Cup after everything that is happening there.”
Although they do not win many friends with their behaviour on the pitch, the US team have consistently campaigned for the greater good in women’s football and demand respect because of it.
Not that Holland’s players are sure they respect them enough ahead of the final and the Dutch are happy to be underestimated.
Source : The Telegraph