New York (AFP) – United States star Megan Rapinoe hit out at world football’s governing body FIFA on Friday, criticising “ridiculous” scheduling that will leave the Women’s World Cup final clashing with the climax of two other continental championships.
Speaking at a media event in New York ahead of the USA’s final home friendly before next month’s finals in France, Rapinoe said FIFA was still not doing enough to promote women’s football.
Rapinoe, a veteran of the USA’s 2015 World Cup triumph , voiced particular dismay at the fixture clash which means the finals of the women’s World Cup, Copa America and CONCACAF Gold Cup will all be played on July 7.
“Obviously, it is very disappointing,” the 33-year-old told reporters.
“I think there’s two (other) finals on the same day and the other tournaments going on at the same exact time.
“Yeah, it’s ridiculous and disappointing to be honest.”
Rapinoe said the fixture pile-up was symptomatic of a FIFA which failed to throw its full weight behind the women’s game.
“I think there have been strides that have been made, but in terms of their capacity for change and the ability for them to change – obviously they have essentially unlimited resources – I don’t think that it’s really been a huge change at all,” she said.
“I think, sort of, the incremental change that we’ve seen is just not enough and I don’t think that’s really the model that needs to happen.
“I would like to see a major paradigm shift and sort of a major overhaul and kind of a double-down realizing that there has been such a lack of investment for all of these years and such a lack of care and attention that double or tripling or quadrupling investment care, attention to the women’s game I think would be appropriate.
“Incremental change is better than none at all, but for the resources and for the ability that I feel that FIFA has to implement that change I think that they’re not doing nearly enough.”
FIFA has doubled the amount of prize money to be shared between the 24 teams competing at this year’s World Cup, from $15 million in 2015 to $30 million.
However the cash increase is dwarfed by the amounts distributed at the men’s World Cup, where more than $400 million was shared amongst 32 teams in 2018.
The $15 million increase for this year’s tournament is also less than half of the $40 million raise the men’s tournament will receive in 2022.