FIFA Comes Clean About Women's World Cup Ticket Sales
FIFA has confessed to "providing misleading information" about Women's World Cup ticket sales after the opening weekend of matches took place "against the backdrop of many empty seats," according to Rob Harris of the AP. FIFA last month "gave the impression that tickets for the tournament in France were hard to come by," with FIFA President Gianni Infantino last week indicating that 20 of the 52 matches were sold out. However, FIFA today "revised that number" to just 14 sellouts. Of the nine games in the opening four days of the tournament, the "only capacity crowds were at host France’s victory over South Korea in Paris on Friday and at Brazil’s win over Jamaica in Grenoble." FIFA last week said that it had "'allocated' the majority of tickets -- 460,748 -- to French people." After that, more tickets "have been allocated to Americans -- 130,905 -- than the rest of the world combined." England residents "rank third with 29,307 tickets" (AP, 6/11). All three group stage matches involving the U.S. and France are sold out, and FS1's Rob Stone said, "Those two nations right now part of a group carrying the flag for the sport early on here in France, although props to the Dutch for bringing the crowd out earlier today” (“FIFA Women’s World Cup Today,” FS1, 6/11).
THE OTHER BATTLE: The USWNT begin play this afternoon after drawing headlines in the months leading up to the World Cup about their quest to end the pay inequity between the U.S. men’s and women’s teams. USA Today's Christine Brennan noted that has been a “storyline that’s been going since ‘99.” She said, “This has been a constant battle with their federation over travel conditions, over pay conditions, over the opportunity to market themselves and missed opportunities galore.” USWNT players have been treated like "second-class citizens from the get-go,” and when the World Cup is concluded, the "conversation about gender equity is going to keep coming up” (“NewsHour,” PBS, 6/10).