With just over a month away until the Philippine women's national football team's (PWNFT) historic FIFA Women's World Cup debut, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is still holding out hope for local exposure for the Filipinas as well as financial support.
PFF President Mariano "Nonong" Araneta on Saturday confirmed there is still no broadcast partner for the Women's World Cup. The Filipinas need support for their training, too.
"We're still hoping a station would cover this historical tournament of the Filipinas," Araneta told Noli Eala in Radyo5's Power & Play. "Mura na nga siguro 'yung broadcasting ng FIFA."
The Filipinas aren't just making history with the country's very first-ever appearance in the Women's World Cup. They just soared to a program-high 46th spot in the FIFA rankings. That's three places higher from their previous slot, pushing them to fourth in Southeast Asia and eighth in Asia.
FIFA's international broadcasting woes
The broadcasting troubles hounding the FIFA Women's World Cup does not cover only the Philippines.
The rights are being sold separately from the men's edition for the first time.
Last month, FIFA President Gianni Infantino called for broadcasters around the world to pay a fair price for the biggest football tournament for women, which is set to begin next month in Australia and New Zealand.
"The offers from broadcasters, mainly in the 'Big 5' European countries, are still very disappointing and simply not acceptable based on four criteria," Infantino said during a World Trade Organization panel discussion.
He noted that some broadcasters lowballed the Women's World Cup, offering only $1 million to $10 million. In comparison, some have paid $100 million to $200 million for the men's event.
"This is a slap in the face of all the great FIFA Women's World Cup players and indeed of all women worldwide," Infantino said.
He even threatened a blackout in Britain, Spain, France, Germany, and Italy.
"It is our moral and legal obligation not to undersell the FIFA Women's World Cup," Infantino added.
The threat prompted the sports ministers of Europe's top football nations to issue a joint statement, urging FIFA and broadcasters to work together to "find a common path."
"Women deserve it! As simple as that!" Infantino posted on Instagram.
$30,000 prize money each—but only for the players
Araneta told Eala, who served as Philippine Sports Commission chief (PSC) for a few months, that the PFF last received P10 million from the government. And that was for the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation Women's Championship, in which the Filipinas made history by winning their first trophy and right on home soil.
"But we spent more than that for the hosting. We won the championship here," Araneta said, noting the PFF has so far spent $4 million for training camps and international friendlies.
The federation did get some help from FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation, and from a number of their sponsors.
Each player at the FIFA Women's World Cup will also be guaranteed at least $30,000 in a groundbreaking move to disburse money to individuals, rather than national federations.
The $30,000 minimum directed prize money is more than twice the average salary of $14,000 for paid players surveyed in FIFA's 2022 benchmarking report, according to Reuters.
"That's only the players [who] can get it," Araneta said.
Now, the PFF is hoping for the government's support as the Filipinas are not just set to compete in the Women's World Cup, but in the Olympic Qualifiers and even the Asian Games as well.
"We asked for P30 million even during your time [Eala's short-lived tenure at the PSC]. We've been knocking at the doors just to help in the preparation of the team," Araneta said. "Itong sa Australia, we'll be spending P15 million here just for the Cup."
The target for the Filipinas is at least to climb out of the group stage against world no. 12 Norway, world no. 20 Switzerland, and world no. 26 New Zealand.
"Historic 'to. First time that we are going to the World Cup. It's something we never really imagined—the Philippines in the World Cup," he noted. "From the government's side, we're still knocking on doors to support the team and the PFF."
This team is making history and defying the odds, and that makes this lack of support truly baffling—and disappointing to say the least.