FIFA got its first gambling sponsor for the Women’s World Cup, which will be played in New Zealand and Australia from July 20th to August 20th.
It signed a sponsorship deal with New Zealand TAB, according to the terms of which it will promote the NZ state-owned betting monopoly, in four stadiums where NZ will co-host the tournament with Australia. So far, nobody is aware of the value of the sponsorship deal.
FIFA had also signed a gambling sponsorship deal with the European brand Betano for the Men’s World Cup 2022 held in Qatar.
Visa is the TAB’s fellow sponsor for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The company launched a new program to distribute up to $500,000 among female small business owners and plans to choose 64 women across the event.
The TAB returns a commission to all the sports it receives wagers on. Last year, it paid NZ$2.4 million to the National Soccer Federation.
While Australia has a supreme striker in Sam Kerr, NZ does not have well-known players. However, the NZ team is fully capable of carving a niche for itself during the FIFA Women’s World Cup although it has lesser-known players belonging to low-profile sports clubs.
Key NZ players have recovered from their injuries and returned, determined to win their first Women’s World Cup at home. Here is a list of five NZ players who have fans’ attention.
Coach Klimkova is relieved that midfielder Ria Percival has fully recovered from her injuries and returned to the game at the right time.
Percival sustained a knee injury while playing her 160th international game in April 2022. The team is happy to have her athleticism, tactical acumen, and experience.
The 33-year-old midfielder has over ten years of experience in top-level European football, and her juniors are looking up to her for guidance.
Midfielder Olivia Chance played a significant role in New Zealand’s victory over the Korean Republic last year. Her game intelligence, techniques, and skills as a winger make her one of the most noted players in Jitka Klimkova’s team.
She too sustained a knee injury while playing against Iceland last year but appears to have recovered. She will be playing in the NZ team when the Women’s World Cup begins on July 20.
Chance is committed to the game. According to the latest FIFPro study, she travelled more than any other football player from August 2022 to April 2023 to represent her team. She took 12 trips and travelled a total of 145,000 kilometres from August to March.
Defender Ali Riley, the captain of the Football Ferns, turns 36 this October. Her experience as a defender is unrivalled as she has played four Women’s World Cup tournaments and participated in several Olympics events. A member of Angel City, she continues to excel at the elite level of the game.
Her understanding of the game, composure, and enthusiastic personality will go a long way in helping Klimkova’s team win the Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Striker Hannah Wilkinson has scored several goals for the Football Ferns, especially in April. The Melbourne resident has scored 30 international goals in her career, an achievement that makes her the team's top goal scorer.
The 31-year-old striker will play a significant role in helping her team to score goals that will lead them to victory.
Kiwi defender Rebekah Stott is sure to get a lot of international support. Her appearance in the team is a miracle as she has been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since 2021, when she was diagnosed with the disease. She underwent chemotherapy for several years to fight against the disease.
She played many years in England, Australia, the USA, Norway, and Germany and has now returned to her employer Brighton. She says thoughts of the Women’s World Cup kept her motivated throughout her struggle against the disease.
Everybody wants to give her the star role before her fellow Kiwis, friends, and family members.
Meanwhile, coach Klimkova is trying to change the team’s mindset and training her players to become determined to win, keep the ball, and control the game as much as they can.
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