By Thanh Nga
The upcoming 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup to be held in New Zealand/Australia proves that women's football is growing strongly and is loved worldwide. Just a few days before the event officially kicks off, over one million tickets have already been sold, surpassing the previous tournament in France in 2019.
"The future is female, and I thank the fans for supporting what will be the greatest FIFA Women's World Cup ever," said Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, the international governing body of association football.
Television networks in many countries have acquired the rights to broadcast live matches of the tournament, and nearly a thousand reporters are travelling to Australia and New Zealand to cover the event. This highlights the rapid development and wide appeal of women's football, attracting fans from all over the world.
|Illustration by Trịnh Lập|
According to Lindsey Darvin, a sport management scholar studying equity and inclusion in sport, the tremendous interest and excitement surrounding the 2023 Women’s World Cup is directly linked to the constant, albeit slow and often laboured, efforts to expand promotion and access to the tournament across the world.
Megan Rapinoe, forward of the US Women’s National Team, believes this World Cup presents a real opportunity to increase fanfare, media coverage, sponsorships, and the overall business around this sport.
“I think everyone is now aware that this is not just about cheering for the Women’s World Cup because it’s the right thing to do. It’s actually a terrible business move if you’re not getting in on it, if you’re not investing, if you’re not putting resources into it,” Rapinoe said.
The first FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in 1991, 61 years after the first men’s tournament in 1930. This year marks the ninth edition of the tournament, featuring 32 teams representing five continents, similar to the current men's football format.
Female players deserve more
FIFA President Infantino sent a message to the Women’s World Cup, "This is the time to keep the momentum going and take the next steps to further promote the growth of women's football. I am very pleased to see that the proposal to expand the number of teams participating in the final round from 24 to 32 has come to fruition."
This is also the first Women's World Cup where all participating teams are arranged by FIFA in each hotel and have their own training ground.
With the slogan "Beyond Greatness", the organisers aim to increase the prominence of women's football with fans around the world. The teams are carrying the mission of inspiring and cheering for girls to follow the professional sports path.
FIFA had repeatedly rejected low-paying broadcaster bids, urging and demanding higher prices, as they believe female players deserve more.
With the expansion of the number of participating teams, FIFA has increased the total prize pool in the 2023 World Cup to US$110 million, $80 million higher than the tournament four years ago in France.
The winning team will receive prize money of $4.3 million, and the teams that won the right to participate in the final round, including the Vietnamese women's team, will earn $1.56 million each.
Proud of Vietnamese Women's Football
Overcoming many challenges, the Vietnamese women's football team have finally secured a place in the world’s largest sporting event in a proud and memorable way. Việt Nam will compete in the event with their tenacious playing spirit and high hopes, even though they are considered underdogs.
As one of the elite representatives from Asia, the Vietnamese women's team not only play for themselves, but also create emotion and excitement for football fans across Asia. This is the best way for the Vietnamese players to capture the hearts of fans while giving themselves greater motivation for the future.
The 2023 Cup also marks the first time that there is a Fan Zone, catering to all ages, making it a vibrant destination for fans around the world to experience the best of football, music, entertainment, culture, and local food. The "giant" screen is indispensable for fans to enjoy all 64 matches at the Fan Zone.
In addition, VAR (video assistant referee) technology continues to be used, but has been upgraded with an explanation of the decision from the referee team, which is broadcast live in the stadium and on television. FIFA hopes to use this tournament to test the development of VAR, aiming to bring more transparency and limit controversy.
With these efforts, FIFA is proving its commitment to promote gender equality in sports and to honour women globally. VNS