The Women’s World Cup kicked off this week with co-host nation New Zealand playing Norway. Yet even before the eagerly anticipated tournament started, questions were raised over the disparity of prize money between the men’s and women’s games writes Celine Moxon, one of our trainee solicitors.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will see 32 national teams compete across 64 games at ten venues across New Zealand and Australia over the next four weeks. It is expected to attract record-breaking audiences of more than two billion people worldwide.
But the Australian co-host nation has raised concerns over the unfair treatment by FIFA, the game’s regulatory body, to award considerably smaller prize funds to the women’s game.
The Australian women’s squad, known as the Matildas, has very publicly called out FIFA for offering a quarter of the prize money at the Women’s World Cup when compared to the men’s World Cup played in Qatar in 2022.
The prize pool for the Women’s World Cup stands at £84m compared to £300m for the men’s tournament.
FIFA has responded, saying that it is working towards equal prize money for the next World Cups in 2026 and 2027.
The Matildas have made significant progress through collective bargaining to win greater recognition and equality for the Women’s World Cup, including negotiating and improving central contracts. Yet despite an equal pay deal in the host nation Australia, the squad was not able to secure parity on prize money.
The Women’s World Cup is driving considerable interest around the world in the women’s game, with packed stadiums, huge TV audiences and lucrative advertising and sponsorship deals. Calls for equal pay and prize money will only grow louder.
Prize pool parity has been much debated across all sports in recent years, with Wimbledon now offering equal prize money to its men and women champions. A successful Women’s World Cup will add further weight to the argument.
The 32 national teams will for the next four weeks be focused entirely on their game hoping to lift the coveted trophy. But once the tournament finishes, the battle for equal prize money will continue.
The above is accurate as at 21 July 2023. The information above may be subject to change.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.