FIFA president Gianni Infantino could not guarantee that the federations would distribute the promised $30,000 payments to all World Cup players.
In a new press conference before the start of the tournament, he said that he was speaking with the federations on the subject. Payments are made by the national federations, which are expected to pay the players.
But there is no direct mechanism to give soccer players money that could change the lives of some.
“We are moving in the right direction, we have begun to consult with the associations, with the players, to try to find the right path,” said Infantino. “We have given these recommendations, but we have an association of associations. Any payments we make we will make through the associations, and then the associations will of course make the relevant payments to their players. We are in contact with all the associations”.
FIFA has previously confirmed that the 732 players who will participate in the World Cup will receive a payment of at least 30,000 euros. The amount increases if the teams perform well, with each player on the winning team receiving $270,000.
Infantino said that there were complications, such as residences and tax issues, that it was better for the federations to manage.
The pay is significant for many female players: The median annual salary for women who play soccer professionally is $14,000.
The FIFA agreement means that half of the World Cup prize fund, $110 million, will go to the players of the 32 teams. The fund is more than three times the $30 million that FIFA paid for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
The global union of players, known as FIFPro, helped lobby FIFA to dedicate a percentage of the prize money to the players themselves. The union sent a letter to FIFA in October on behalf of players from 25 national teams asking for more equal conditions and more prize money.
However, the sum remains well below the $440 million paid to the men who contested the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year. Infantino said that the objective is to equalize the prizes for the 2026 men’s World Cup and the 2027 women’s World Cup.
The women’s World Cup is expected to generate $500 million in revenue and the organization is expected to turn a profit, Infantino said. For the first time, the commercial rights for the World Cup were sold separately from the men’s tournament.
The World Cup begins on Thursday with the two host teams. New Zealand will play Norway in Auckland, while Australia will host Ireland in Sydney.