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."

Related items

  • Inter Milan stretch lead at top by beating Genoa Inter Milan stretch lead at top by beating Genoa

    Inter Milan stretched their lead at the top of Serie A to 15 points after they earned a 2-1 win over Genoa at San Siro.

    After a slow opening spell, the home side soon clicked into gear and established a two-goal lead by the 38th minute through Kristjan Asllani’s strike and Alexis Sanchez’s penalty.

    Inter looked like they would go on to cruise to victory but they were soon forced to increase their concentration levels when Johan Vasquez pulled a goal back for the away team nine minutes after half-time.

    Vitinha then thought he levelled things up for Genoa but the offside flag saved Inter, who held on to stretch their winning run in Serie A to nine games.

    Inter were frustrated through the opening quarter with the hosts coming closest when Nicolo Barella pounced on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s long ball but guided over the crossbar.

    Genoa came close to breaking the deadlock after Stefano Sabelli’s cross was powerfully headed towards goal by Mateo Retegui but Yann Sommer saved. The rebound fell into the path of Albert Gudmundsson who diverted wide.

    Inter had the breakthrough on the half-hour mark when Sanchez’s through ball found Asllani, who smashed emphatically into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.

    The hosts had a chance to double their lead when Lautaro Martinez picked out Barella, who was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area by Morten Frendrup and a spot-kick was awarded.

    Sanchez stepped up for the penalty and powered into the right side of the net, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

    Inter were smelling blood and could have had three when Mkhitaryan raced through on goal and let fly only to see his goalbound shot blocked by Johan Vasquez.

    Genoa had a route back into the game nine minutes after the break after Stefan de Vrij’s defensive header looped straight into the path of Vasquez who arrowed a volley into the bottom right corner.

    The visitors thought they had an equaliser when Vitinha cut inside and picked out the bottom corner but the assistant referee’s offside flag cut celebrations short with 20 minutes to go.

    Genoa came close once again but Tottenham loanee Djed Spence’s cross was glanced wide by Retegui and Inter held their nerve to edge closer to the Serie A title.

  • Arsenal produce devastating display to hit sorry Sheffield United for six Arsenal produce devastating display to hit sorry Sheffield United for six

    Rampant Arsenal made history with a 6-0 win away to shambolic Sheffield United as Mikel Arteta’s side moved back to within two points of the Premier League summit.

    Having seen title rivals Liverpool edge past Nottingham Forest and Manchester City defeat Manchester United, Mikel Arteta’s men knew they had to respond at the Championship-bound Blades.

    Arsenal did so in style and could easily have struck more than the five first-half goals they managed at Bramall Lane, where the Monday evening mauling was completed by a Ben White thunderbolt.

    This was the Gunners’ seventh straight Premier League win and saw them become the first English league side to win three consecutive away games by five or more goals.

    By contrast, the Blades have now conceded five or more in four successive home games in all competitions – not exactly the fight boss Chris Wilder promised from his rock-bottom side.

    Instead, United fans watched one the most humiliating first halves in Premier League history, with a Jayden Bogle own goal coming between efforts from Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli in the opening 15 minutes.

    Kai Havertz and Declan Rice made it five by the half-time, which was greeted by boos from the Blades fans who had not already headed for a pint or an early exit.

    White brilliantly fizzed home Arsenal’s sixth – the 10,000th goal in club history – as Arteta rung the changes, including taking off injured Martinelli after withdrawing Bukayo Saka at the break.

  • Chelsea striker Sam Kerr pleads not guilty to racially aggravated harassment Chelsea striker Sam Kerr pleads not guilty to racially aggravated harassment

    Chelsea striker Sam Kerr has pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated harassment of a police officer, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

    The Australia captain was charged with causing a police officer harassment, alarm or distress during an incident in Twickenham, south-west London, on January 30 last year.

    A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the incident involved an officer who was responding to a complaint about a taxi fare.

    Kerr, of Richmond, denied the charge at a plea and trial preparation hearing at Kingston upon Thames Crown Court on Monday.

    She is due to face trial next February, according to reports.

    Chelsea have been contacted for comment by the PA news agency.

    Kerr is two months into a lengthy period on the sidelines after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the Blues’ warm-weather training camp in Morocco.

    The 30-year-old – Australia’s all-time leading scorer with 69 goals – joined Chelsea in 2020 and has helped the London club win the last four Women’s Super League titles as well as the FA Cup three times.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.