WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 2023
Alex Morgan calls out FIFA for possible Saudi Arabia sponsorship of World Cup
The star of the US team, double world champion, makes her position clear, calling the idea a “bizarre” one.
As co-hosts of the Women’s World Cup, Australia and New Zealand wrote to FIFA last week seeking urgent clarification after news had broken that the Saudi Arabian tourism authority would be a sponsor of the event. Now, the star of the USA team, Alex Morgan, has shown her surprise and concern about the possible agreement.
Morgan finds Saudi sponsorship idea ‘bizarre’
“I think it’s bizarre that FIFA has looked to have a Visit Saudi sponsorship for the Women’s World Cup when I, myself, Alex Morgan, would not even be supported and accepted in that country,” the San Diego Wave player told reporters ahead of the SheBelieves Cup. “I just don’t understand it.”
The American, winner of two World Cups with her nation, has also issued advice to the Middle Eastern country that wants to sponsor the showpiece event and that is also said to be looking to host the men’s World Cup in 2030.
“I think that what Saudi Arabia can do is push themselves into their women’s team which was formed only a couple of years ago and doesn’t even have a current ranking within the FIFA system due to the few games they’ve played. That would be my advice to them.
“I really hope that FIFA does the right thing. I mean, pretty much everyone has spoken out against, because morally it just doesn’t make sense. Everyone should have the ability to play sport. And the fact that it’s being taken into politics so big is really sad. And I think it’s at the cost of trans kids’ life. It’s really sad and I feel like what Becky said was great.
“For this team, we’ve always been very vocal with where we stand and I think we’ll continue to do that. But looking at these games in Florida and Texas, respectively, we’re going to need to continue to step it up and have internal discussions as well with the team because we’re not ones to shy away from hard conversation or taking a stand for what’s right.”
US Soccer united in human rights stance
On the back of Morgan’s comments, her teammate Taylor Kornieck gave her thoughts.
“We obviously can’t control who FIFA partners with. But at the end of the day, US Soccer, we believe in partnering with people who align with our values best.”
In addition, the United States Soccer Federation reported in a statement that it would express its annoyance to FIFA regarding the aforementioned sponsorship, just as Australia and New Zealand requested explanations about it.
“US Soccer strongly supports human rights and equity for all and believes in the power of our sport to have a positive impact.
“While we cannot control how other organisations manage sponsorship selections for the tournaments we compete in, we can voice our concerns and will continue to support our players.”