FIFA president Gianni Infantino attends England’s thumping win over China after returning to the Women’s World Cup on Monday after almost a week away
- Gianni Infantino left the World Cup last Tuesday to visit the Pacific Islands
- He made his first appearance in Australia during the competition on Monday
- Infantino was in attendance for England’s 6-1 victory over China today
The FIFA president watched five days of matches in New Zealand before flying out to Tahiti last Tuesday – despite attending every match at the men’s equivalent in Qatar.
His trip to the Pacific Islands came after he called for the women’s tournament to be shown the same respect as the men’s World Cup.
After spending time in Tahiti and Tonga, he returned to the World Cup yesterday to watch Australia’s final group match against Canada – his first appearance of the tournament in Australia.
During England’s clash with China, Infantino was seen in jovial spirits as he watched the action alongside the FA’s director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell.
Gianni Infantino was in attendance for England’s game against China, after returning to the tournament on Monday for Australia’s final group game against Canada
Infantino was spotted watching the game alongside FA’s director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell
FIFA president Infantino poses for a picture with former Australia and Everton star Tim Cahill
Infantino was also seen posing for a picture alongside former Australia and Everton midfielder Tim Cahill.
During his time away, he posted footage of his time in Tahiti, meeting the national Beach Soccer team which is preparing for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the UAE.
He also participated in a match at the Tahitian Football Federation headquarters on a new artificial turf pitch funded by the FIFA Forward development programme.
The 53-year-old was in Tonga on Monday before his return to the World Cup to see how the country’s football association is providing opportunities for youngsters trying to get into the sport.
He said: ‘We are here to care about those that nobody really cares about. We are here to be with those who are living in the remotest areas of the world, and about those who never give up and want to live their dreams.
‘We are here to give everyone a chance. We are here for that, and we are proud to be here in Oceania.’
The distances involved in Australia and New Zealand made it impossible for him to attend every match, compared to the men’s tournament in Qatar where all stadiums were located within a 35 mile radius of Doha.
But Australia’s 4-0 victory over Canada was the first match he had witnessed in the country, and the first time he has been there since they were awarded the tournament’s co-hosting rights back in 2020.
Infantino left the Women’s World Cup lastTuesday, despite attending every men’s game
Infantino posted on his Instagram about meeting Tahiti’s male beach soccer players
It comes despite his request that the Women’s World Cup is treated with equal respect
Infantino has set a target for both the women’s and men’s World Cups to offer equal pay by 2027.
The 2022 Men’s World Cup saw £365m made available to the 32 teams taking part, while the ongoing Women’s World Cup has a prize pot of just £125m.
When hitting out at broadcasters for low-balling TV rights to the Women’s World Cup, Infantino said: ‘Women deserve much, much more than that and we are there to fight for them and with them’.
Last week, he was proud to celebrate the sale of 1.5 million tickets across the whole tournament.
Infantino said: ‘I would really like to express a huge thank you to New Zealand and to Australia for hosting us here.
‘We often say that football unites the world. New Zealand and Australia are uniting the world Down Under.’
England meanwhile next face Nigeria in the last-16 of the World Cup on Monday.