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Men And Women Split Over Equal Prize Money In Women’s Soccer

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 20: Ivana Andres of Spain and teammates celebrate with the FIFA Women’s … [+] World Cup Trophy following victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023 in Sydney / Gadigal, Australia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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A supporter survey conducted by Forza Football has discovered that only 40% of male fans are in favor of equal prize money for women playing at international tournaments.

This summer, the world governing body, FIFA tripled prize money for the Women’s World Cup from $50 million in 2019 to $152 million this year. This remains just over a third of the total prize fund of $440 million of the total prize fund for the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year.

Speaking in March, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the world governing body would aim to equalize prize money between the men’s and women’s World Cups by the next cycle of tournaments in 2026 and 2027. To achieve this, he said there would need to be significant added investment from broadcasters and sponsors.

However, of the more than 3000 fans surveyed in 120 countries, only 48% of supporters believed that prize money should be equal. 83% of female fans are in favor, but only two in five male supporters.

Despite this, 59% of those surveyed feel that the world governing bodies need to do more to reduce the pay gap between men’s and women’s international sides, this rises to 89% of those women asked.

Last month’s Women’s World Cup final was – and continues to be – overshadowed by the non-censual kiss of Jenni Hermoso by Spanish FA President Luis Rubiales. The survey also revealed that more than a third (35%) of female football fans have experienced or know of specific incidents of sexual harassment at games, with 1-in-10 female fans having experienced sexual harassment within stadiums. This is seemingly not a concern shared by the majority of men as 79% stated that they do not know of any incidents of sexual harassment within stadiums.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 20: President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales (R) … [+] kisses Jennifer Hermoso of Spain (L) during the medal ceremony of FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Noemi Llamas/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

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Over a quarter of respondents (28%) stated that stadium authorities are not taking adequate measures to ensure the safety of female fans within stadiums, which rises to nearly half (45%) of female fans. Women feel stadium authorities should be doing more to protect them

More encouragingly, 77% of football fans said they would be comfortable with a female manager leading their team. This despite the fact that no woman has ever permanently managed a major men’s club or international side.

As more high-profile female referees continue to take charge of matches in the men’s and women’s game, 88% of football fans said they would be comfortable with a female referee. Last year, Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart led the first-ever all-female refereeing team at the men’s World Cup match between Costa Rica and Germany.

AL KHOR, QATAR – DECEMBER 01: Referees Neuza Ines Back, Stephanie Frappart and Karen Diaz Medina … [+] walk off the pitch after the first half during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Shaun Botterill – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA via Getty Images

Founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2012, Forza Football provides updates from 1,450 soccer competitions throughout the world, including live coverage of over 50 women’s domestic leagues. They are committed to providing the same in-depth coverage of men’s and womens soccer and since 2018, they have reported a 500% increase in views of its women’s football coverage.

According to the results of their survey, 71% of all soccer fans watched at least one match at the recent Women’s World Cup. Over half of all female fans said they watched most or all of the games. 43% of all fans, including 34% of men, said they enjoyed watching the women’s game ‘as much or more’ than men’s soccer. These figures rose considerably in the under-25 demographic.

Sharmila Mona Sinha, the Global Executive Director of Equality Now, an international network of lawyers, activists and supporters committing to creating a just world for women and girls, said “while the increase in engagement is worthy of celebration, the survey highlights the differing opinions of men and women concerning equal pay for female footballers in World Cup tournaments. 45% of men surveyed do not want equal pay for women footballers, failing to recognize the significant contributions of female footballers to the sport’s overall success.”

“Women and girls in football deserve equal opportunity, respect, and protection as their male counterparts. Equal pay in football signifies fairness, acknowledges female athletes’ skills, and promotes a more inclusive and progressive future for the sport.”

“The survey reminds us that unwavering dedication to equality is needed from all stakeholders to achieve gender parity in sport, and it is essential for governing bodies like FIFA to take a proactive approach to create real change in this area. It is crucial to acknowledge and address the gendered experiences of women as football spectators. This survey illuminates how commonplace sexual harassment is in sports stadiums and emphasizes the need for authorities to do more to ensure the safety of female fans.”

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