Ticket sales for the global showpiece, which is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia from July 20 to August 20, surpassed a million tickets a month ago. But uptake has been slow in New Zealand, with tickets still available for sale on the eve of the tournament kicking off, unlike in Australia.
“New Zealand, we want you. We need you,” Infantino pleaded at press conference in Auckland, New Zealand.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing. Come to watch the matches. We need full stadiums to warm us all up,” he added.
Speaking alongside Infantino, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura echoed his plea to Kiwis saying, “We still have tickets available for some matches, so my only plea is don’t wait until the last moment.
“You still can apply and get your ticket for the majority of the matches, and we hope that this will be also the most attended women’s sporting event – it is already, but that we will be reaching record figures,” she added.
Xero, the official partner of the Women’s World Cup, confirmed to CNN Sport on Wednesday that it had offered 20,000 complimentary tickets to games in New Zealand’s four host cities.
It is common for sporting events to allocate a certain number of complimentary tickets to fans.
A Xero spokesperson added that complimentary ticket allocation has been exhausted and there were no further tickets available as a part of this initiative.
Infantino also praised the growth of the women’s game in last 10 years and believes the tournament will win over skeptics.
“Many people who still believe that women’s football is not, you know, great, a great game or it’s not so entertaining or it’s a kind of a bad copy of men’s football, or some stuff like that.
“Well, when they watch a game for the first time, they will actually see that it’s a fantastic game. It’s very entertaining. It’s great athletes playing, the level has grown incredibly in the last 10 years, and the best are coming here,” he added.
For the first time in history, FIFA is guaranteeing direct payments for Women’s World Cup players, with every player participating at the tournament set to receive a minimum of $30,000 each out of a record $110 million prize pot – part of $152 million total compensation to players, clubs and federations.
Infantino added that it was up to the federations to ensure that the money was received by the players.
“Whatever payments we do, we do through the associations, and then the associations will, of course, make the relevant payments to their own players,” he added.
Tournament co-host New Zealand faces Norway at Eden Park on Thursday in the opening match of the Women’s World Cup.