Fox aired an interview with new FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday, a sit-down conducted by American broadcaster Alexi Lalas.
In it, Infantino discusses the World Cup bidding process for 2026 and whispers of corruption involving him in the Panama Papers.
Perhaps most interesting of the excerpts published by Fox, however, is his answer to Lalas’ question regarding money paid to women’s footballers.
“When it comes to the prize money for the World Cup, it had been increased already from $10 to $50 million, and the prize money 50% from the last World Cup to this one. But still, very low compared to what it could be or should be. I think we need to focus now on redevelopment of women’s football at the top, but also at the grassroots level we need to create the basis. We need to focus and we need to discuss. The Women’s World Cup, women’s football in general, is increasing. I think what will help in this respect as well is if we don’t speak only about women’s football, but also women in football. We need to have women in leadership positions in football. This will help make us men evolve a little bit in the right direction.
“What is more important as well is how can we invest more into the development of the women’s game. It is about giving them what is right and what is deserved. It must be right. For this we have to discuss, we need to sit around a table and find the right solution.”
While this doesn’t specifically speak to the situation regarding the USWNT and its lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, something hinted at by U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday, it does make a very interesting point.
What will drive women’s soccer moving forward will be federations paying more attention to developing the sport at home. The world could use more match-ups that aren’t easy blowouts for powers like the United States and Germany, nations that were on the forefront of development in women’s soccer.
When we talk about the USMNT, we ask when our nation will produce a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo (probably when coaches stop banishing creativity from our players so they can win tactically at the U-13 level). But when will Argentina, Austria or even Mexico develop a Tobin Heath or Carli Lloyd? Providing an impetus will help, and Infantino can help spearhead that.