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Fifa chief Gianni Infantino has sparked a backlash after advising women on the “struggle” for equality in football on the eve of the World Cup final, saying they have the “ability to convince us what men must do”.

With England and Spain due to battle for football’s top prize on Sunday, the global sport’s chief told the second FIFA Women’s Football Congress in Sydney that there was a need to “start treating women the same way”. and men”.

“I say to all women — you know I have four daughters, so I have several in my family — you have the power to change,” Infantino told the audience.

The head of the sport’s world governing body told women to “pick the right fights” and that they “have the power to convince us men of what must and must not be done”.

“You do it, you do it,” Infantino added. “With me, with FIFA, you will find the door open. Just push the door and it will be open.”

Women have been sidelined in the world’s most popular sport for decades as male-dominated football authorities made men’s sport a priority for investment and marketing.

The Women’s World Cup is expected to attract a global screen audience of 2 billion, with nearly 2 million tickets sold for games in Australia and New Zealand. According to Infantino, the event has generated $570 million in revenue, breaking even.

Norwegian star and Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegberg was among those who responded to Infantino’s comments.

“Doing a small demo to convince men,” she wrote on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). “Who’s in there?”

Football commentator Jacqui Oatley posted: “We’ve been fighting this nonsense for decades. So, Infantino is poor.”

This is not the first time Infantino has sparked controversy over his remarks. In Doha last year, he hit back at critics of Qatar’s hosting of the Men’s World Cup.

“Today I got the feeling of Qatar,” he told the assembled reporters at that match. “Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel (like) a migrant worker. I feel like them because I know it What does it mean . . . to be bullied.”

FIFA began organizing the Women’s World Cup in 1991, while the Men’s World Cup began in 1930. Infantino had previously drawn up plans to implement equal prize money for the 2026 men’s World Cup and the 2027 women’s World Cup.

However, he warned on Friday that equal prize money at the World Cup was just a “slogan”.

“It doesn’t solve anything because it’s one month every four years and it’s a minority of players out of tens of thousands,” he said. “We need to go for equality, but we have to actually do it.”


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