Wednesday 19 July 2023, 08:45

Seize the moment and be proud, says FIFA President on eve of Women’s World Cup™

  • Gianni Infantino was speaking at the opening media conference on the eve of the competition

  • FIFA President emphasised that the tournament is a global event

  • Around 1.5 million fans expected to watch matches in stadiums with two billion following globally

Gianni Infantino emphasised that the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ would be a truly global event and, on the eve of the opening match, said he had a simple message to fans, tournament organisers and participating teams: “Seize the moment and be proud.”

Speaking at the opening media conference alongside FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura in Auckland, the FIFA President said the tournament, which will be followed by two billion people around the world and broadcast in almost 190 territories, would showcase the extraordinary progress which has been made by women’s football in the last few years.

“My only message is: seize the moment, be proud. Be proud of what you have been able to achieve here in New Zealand, in Australia, of course. Be proud of what will be the biggest event – certainly sports event, certainly football event – so far, that has been organised here,” he said.

Fatma Samoura said that around 1.5 fans were expected to watch the 64 games in stadiums and that it would be a tournament of firsts. “(It will be) the first one to be co-hosted by two confederations, the first one to take place in this part of the world, in the southern hemisphere, the first one that will see 32 teams playing – of which eight are debutants – with 64 matches,” she said. “So, this is the moment where the eyes of the world will be here because we are aiming to have one quarter of the world’s population – two billion -- watching at least one game.”

Mr Infantino emphasised that over 170 national teams had entered the competition and that FIFA had invested USD 1 billion in the women’s game in the last four years. “It’s very entertaining. It’s great athletes playing. The level has grown incredibly in the last 10 years and the best are coming here….So entertainment is assured and guaranteed,” he said.

The FIFA President and Secretary General both appealed to the media to help the efforts to develop women's football.

"We need all to work together to promote the game, to make the game grow," said Mr Infantino. As an example, he pointed to the agreement signed in June with the European Broadcasting Union which, in addition to buying rights for the FIFA Women's World Cup, committed to broadcasting at least one hour of weekly content dedicated to women’s football on its own digital platform and broadcaster network.

"The financial element was not the most important thing --- we added this promotional element and this is, for me, the way forward," he said. “It’s the most effective way to grow women’s football all over the world, and that’s what we’ll focus on in the next couple of years.”