The finals at Vancouver’s BC Place witnessed a record attendance and record TV views, marking the end of the most successful Women’s World Cup. A rematch of the classic finals of 2011 and London Olympics, the U.S. eves beat the Nadeshikos 5-2 to clinch their 3rd title.
The tournament, which began on the cauldron of a multimillion FIFA scandal that surfaced to rock the world, terminated disseminating positive spirit and entertainment.
FIFA’s Gender Bias
Mario Goetze and his German compatriots received $35 million last summer. Carli Lloyd and her girls will have to be “satisfied” with $2 million, reflecting FIFA’s inequality in treating the women’s game.
FIFA, though having trumpeted a “huge success” of the tournament on Friday, showcased an attendance record and television ratings. But the prize money for the tournament is $15 million, while the men’s purse was more than $500 million a year ago in Brazil. Even the U.S. men’s team got $8 million for their 2nd round exit of the Brazil World Cup last year. For just participation only, each team grabbed $2.5 million.
“I don’t think $500 million would necessarily be a number that we’re looking for in terms of the number of sponsors they bring in and world views and the amount of money the men’s World Cup generates but something more than ($15 million) would probably be appropriate,” American Megan Rapinoe said.
“I think we’re getting there. Sometimes we have to drag our way there, but every time we have a World Cup it’s a big event and people pay attention and it’s bigger the next time.”
U.S. coach, too, stood up for her girls.
“I’ve referred to FIFA as the stadium that houses this event, the game is the centerpiece of this event, not the institution,” United States coach Jill Ellis said. “I think people can’t help, FIFA included, but to notice how popular this sport is. And to make sure, it’s like anything, there is always an evolution. There is always a process to go through before equal footing is gained.”
The Other Discrimination
Another issue that drags FIFA to the gallows is that it forced women footballers to play on artificial turf. The turf not only increases the chances of injury, but also increases the temperature on field by 20 to 30 degrees. During tournament, field temperatures reached 120 degrees. Veteran U.S. striker Abby Wambach and other senior players were vociferous against the decision from the beginning, saying this could shorten the tenure of promising stars.
Dozens of top players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against FIFA in Canadian court, citing the artificial turf issue. The case was dropped when it became clear FIFA would not change the field surface even if the court’s verdict goes against it.
But it was a victory for women when FIFA agreed to play 2019 Women’s World Cup on grass. But whether they will change their policies regarding pay packages still remains a big question.