Australia and New Zealand push back on reported Saudi tourism Women's World Cup sponsorship

By Sports Desk March 06, 2023

FIFA could abandon plans for Saudi Arabia's tourism body to sponsor the Women's World Cup after a major backlash from co-hosts Australia and New Zealand.

The sport's governing body was reportedly set to add Visit Saudi as a tournament sponsor for the competition, though no official announcement has been made.

An angry response from both the two host nations and leading players, such as United States veteran Alex Morgan, has reportedly forced a rethink from FIFA now however.

Both Football Australia and New Zealand Football remain frustrated by a lack of clarity though, with the latter's chief executive Andrew Pragnell voicing his displeasure.

"I found the response fairly ambiguous," he told local media. "It didn't confirm nor deny the potential Visit Saudi sponsorship that has been reported in the media.

"It did allude to the importance of treating all member associations equally and the importance of engagement as opposed to isolation.

"Other than that, it stated that they'd be reaching out through their media and partnerships team for further conversations.

"We're left in a little bit of uncertainty as to what's going on here, to be frank, which is a bit disappointing.

"Anything further I say would be speculation because I don't know, but clearly our letter, given the delay in the response, and the absence of confirmation or denial, has caused some form of rethink in FIFA about this issue."

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson echoed his opposite number's comments, adding that any such sponsorship would not match their values for the tournament.

"It was an overwhelming consensus that this partnership does not align with our collective vision for the tournament and falls short of our expectations," he said.

"While we await further clarity and information as to the details of the partnership from FIFA, we continue to convey this clear message on behalf of Football Australia, New Zealand Football, and our community."

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