SYDNEY/AUCKLAND (AP) – The Women’s World Cup organization Australia and New Zealand has asked FIFA for clarification over a sponsorship deal with the Saudi Tourism Board. The host countries say they were not aware of the deal and have asked FIFA “urgently” to answer questions about it. The deal is controversial because of Saudi Arabia’s poor record on women’s rights.
Women’s World Cup this summer. The Dutch national team is one of 32 participating nations.
The Australian and New Zealand Football Associations said they were “shocked and disappointed” that FIFA had not consulted the World Cup host countries. Amnesty International also immediately entered by asking how “the Saudi Tourism Board can sponsor the FIFA Women’s World Cup when a woman in Saudi Arabia cannot even get a job without a man’s consent.”
At Amnesty International’s request, New Zealand’s Sports Minister, Grant Robertson, felt it necessary to approach FIFA about the sponsorship agreement. “In terms of women’s sport here in New Zealand, we’ve come a long way and part of that is empowering women and girls in sport, but also in life in general,” Robertson said in a statement. “I would like FIFA to understand this and take it into account in the commercial agreements.”
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