Alex Morgan: “I really hope that that FIFA does the right thing. I mean, pretty much everyone has spoken out against that because morally it just doesn’t make sense.” (USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Alex Morgan couldn’t believe it.
The U.S. women’s national team striker was critical of FIFA possibility bringing on Visit Saudi, the official tourism authority for Saudi Arabia, as an official sponsor of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“Listen, I think it’s bizarre that FIFA has looked to have a Visit Saudi sponsorship for for the Women’s World Cup when I myself, Alex Morgan, would not even be supported and accepted in that country,” she said during a Wednesday afternoon Zoom conference with the media prior to the SheBelieves Cup.
Saudi Arabia is far behind the rest of the world as it just recently started a women’s national team.
“So I just don’t understand it,” Morgan said. “I think that what Saudi Arabia can do is put efforts into their women’s team that was just formed only a couple of years ago and doesn’t even have a current ranking within the FIFA ranking system because of the such few games that they’ve played.
“So that would be my advice to them. And I really hope that that FIFA does the right thing. I mean, pretty much everyone has spoken out against that because morally it just doesn’t make sense.”
Added USWNT teammate Taylor Kornieck: “We obviously can’t control who FIFA partners with. But at the end of the day, U.S. Soccer, we believe in partnering with people who align with our values best.”
Reports about FIFA possibly bringing on Visit Saudi as a WWC sponsor came to life almost a week ago. The soccer federations of the host countries, New Zealand and Australia, were not consulted about the potential addition.
Not surprisingly, those federations were not happy about it.
In a statement it gave to Reuters, New Zealand Football said: “If these reports prove correct, we are shocked and disappointed to hear this as New Zealand Football haven’t been consulted by FIFA at all on this matter. As FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 co-hosts, New Zealand Football and Football Australia have jointly written to FIFA to urgently clarify the situation.”
To be continued, for sure.