REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
January 10, 2020
Fédération Internationale de Football Association
P.O. Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland
RE: Making more cold, hard, and uninterrupted cash
Dear Mr. Infantino,
As the organizer of the world’s most popular sport, making money comes with the noble task of bringing football to the world. In the pursuit of money, FIFA and the sport’s other governing bodies often succeed—succeed wildly, in fact. Yet, the organization has run into obstacles in the money-making process. A recent investigation by the United States Department of Justice has not helped matters, altering FIFA’s perception around the world. Nor has FIFA’s conversation concerning the 2022 World Cup. A governing body considered to be corrupt is hardly a good look for the organization, nor is it good for the sport.
As a result, the culture of the global footballing community has become a toxic one when the sport’s governors become involved. In addition to facing hatred from the football-watching public, players, like Megan Rapinoe, voice distaste for FIFA, and the organization has a poor relationship with the media. The criticism is not the first of its kind, but the truth is this: football cannot exist without money. Ignoring the overly critical is always a perfectly good strategy, but what we propose here is a way for everyone’s interests to prevail, eliminating the hostile environment.
A surefire way to make money in football is by creating tournaments and competitions. This is true for every governing body, large or small, in the sport. Therefore, our proposal is to invest in tournaments for female footballers, as none have yet become profitable in the same way as tournaments for male footballers. Skepticism may exist, but between large attendance numbers in Italy and Spain, high television viewership in the United Kingdom and the United States, and the extremely profitable U.S. women’s national team, it seems obvious organizations can make just as much money from women’s tournaments as it from men’s, while also reducing much of the ill will directed towards FIFA.
- Project goals
The aim of this project is achieve two significant goals:
- A more profitable FIFA
- A more positive image of FIFA in the eyes of players, the media, and supporters alike.
Achieving the first goal requires effort from all of the governing bodies in the sport. Based on the presumption that tournaments are the easiest way to make money, the existence of the following should be made mandatory:
- Each FIFA member nation should ensure it has a women’s national team.
- Beneath each senior national team should be youth national teams corresponding with those of the men’s national team.
- Each FIFA member nation should establish or maintain a domestic, professional league for female footballers.
- For those creating or revitalizing their leagues, the nation’s plan should include eventual expansion to a tiered system.
- Each continental confederation should organize a continental club competition.
- Each continental confederation should organize a continental national team competition.
- FIFA should organize—and properly fund and promote—a World Cup, to be held every four years.
- FIFA must also organize Youth World Cups that correspond with the Youth World Cups organized for male footballers.
Whether or not these tournaments exist, the amount of funding for men’s and women’s competitions should be the same if it is coming from the same source. For example, both the men’s and women’s national teams of a given country should be given equal funding by its federation in all aspects. Similarly, both the men’s and women’s World Cups should be given equal funding by FIFA in all aspects. This includes ensuring players, coaches, officials, and other team employees receive salaries equivalent to their counterparts on the men’s teams.
This should quickly translate into FIFA wanting to make all that money back. Many men’s football institutions have become beloved cash cows, primarily after spending a bunch of money. For example, FIFA invested $1.8 billion for the 2018 men’s World Cup and made $5.6 billion, per the organization’s 2018 financial report. Methods to make back the money will surely differ, but the story of the sport in recent years is about how governing bodies have successfully turned the world’s most popular sport into one of the most profitable.
Achieving the second goal requires completing the initial phases of the first tasks associated with the first goal. Rapinoe explained how beginning this process may benefit FIFA in more ways than one at the United States’ pre-World Cup media day last May. “Honestly, I feel like it’s a win-win for everyone,” she said. “I feel like for a lot of the institutions that have sort of been perpetrators of bad behavior, this is like a very easy PR move, and sort of get back in the good graces with everyone, and actually do the right thing all at the same time.”
- Anticipated schedule
The process can begin right away, but results will vary from location to location and from tournament to tournament. As a result, the expected schedule is difficult to determine. It should happen faster than the time in between the start of the men’s World Cup and the time football became a truly profitable business (i.e., it won’t take fifty years), and should attract anyone eager to an excellent way to make money quickly.
- Possible roadblocks
The start of such plans will win the support of many, from players to the media and many supporters. However, there will be a vocal contingent of people who will be upset with such developments. The Guardian’s Marina Hyde wrote about the epidemic of men who felt the 2019 World Cup was “shoved down their throats.” This group will feel (or at least feel that they feel) such changes, which is unsurprising for a sport that has been plagued by misogyny for almost its entire existence.
As such, this will likely be an extremely difficult change for many top officials of the game. The emphasis on the men’s game is intertwined with FIFA’s history, and ending such a long-standing tradition will seem nearly impossible. However, the sport needs money more than it needs misogyny and other forms of discrimination, and so the potential of the money to be added to organizations’ and individuals’ bank accounts should continue to be an extremely attractive prospect.
Additionally, the proposal currently calls for following laws across the world and therefore avoiding prospects such as getting investigated by the United States Department of Justice. However, should one want to maximize profits through financial gifts, bribes, and kickbacks, there would be room in the competitions for female footballers.
Much like the schedule, the budget will depend on each organization. The aim is to match spending if one is hosting the same tournament for men and for women in a given period. To cite an earlier example, FIFA’s investment of $1.8 billion for the men’s World Cup in 2018 should have meant a $1.8 billion investment in 2019 for the women’s World Cup. This should be easy to translate across other tournaments, and between national team programs.
FIFA and the sport’s other governing bodies have never shied away from spending money, and have been rewarded greatly for it. It has not just demonstrated the fact that the only way to make money is by spending it, but that even those least expected to do so can achieve such profits.
Football’s governing bodies, though, have seemingly come up with a case of moneymaker’s block; UEFA’s interest in the Europa League 2, a competition aimed to reward Europe’s third-tier teams, is a demonstration of such. Instead of creating yet another men’s tournament, valuable time and resources can be invested in competitions for female footballers, where legitimacy will not be questioned, critics will instead praise, and the potential for money-making opportunities knows few bounds.
We are confident that, should FIFA and other governing bodies approach making money on women’s competitions with the same fervor and tactical savvy that has made competitions for male footballers the playground for the rich, the organizers can become even richer.
I appreciate your time and consideration for my proposal, and look forward to hearing from you.
On behalf of Unusual Efforts