Indigenous flags of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will be on display at FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ matches.
This week, FIFA President Gianni Infantino wrote to senior government officials of the competition’s co-host nations to honour their support of a request received from the tournament’s all-women cultural advisory panel, as well as Football Australia and New Zealand Football.
Following FIFA’s recent announcement that it has partnered with several United Nations (UN) agencies to highlight a range of social causes throughout the tournament, world football’s governing body has now announced additional steps that reflect its commitment to the Indigenous peoples of the tournament’s co-hosts, furthering the importance of the First Nations in Australia and Māori as tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In each of Australia’s six host stadiums, the Australian flag, Australian Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait Islander flag will be flown, while in each of Aotearoa New Zealand’s four host stadiums, the Aotearoa New Zealand flag and Tino Rangatiratanga/national Māori flag will proudly be displayed.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “FIFA recognises the importance of First Nations in Australia and Māori as tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand in the hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023. An important step in the delivery and preparation of the tournament was the establishment of an all-women cultural advisory panel to create enduring relationships in partnership with First Nations and Māori communities and to ensure meaningful engagement and inclusion for all cultural touchpoints across the tournament.”
“This week, during NAIDOC Week in Australia and just before Aotearoa New Zealand’s Matariki celebrations, FIFA has acknowledged the request made by the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Cultural Advisory Panel, Football Australia and New Zealand Football, which was supported by the governments in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. These significant flags express a spirit of mutual respect, national identity and recognition of Indigenous cultures for our hosts.”
FIFA has taken steps to recognise the unique cultures and stories of both countries to ensure that they are respected throughout all aspects of this year’s tournament. All host cities feature the English wording alongside te reo Māori and First Nations Australian traditional place name translations, whilst traditional cultures are represented across all of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ branding. First Nations and Māori cultures will also be strongly represented throughout team welcomes and on matchdays, including in ceremonies and through team captains’ armbands.
Throughout the tournament, FIFA will unveil other initiatives connected to the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is celebrated on 9 August.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson backed the decision made by FIFA: “Confirmation by FIFA that all official flags of Australia will be flown during the FIFA Women’s World Cup is an important moment for all Australians, particularly First Nations people. This decision aligns with the values of our organisation, with diversity and inclusion being at the core of what we’re about as a governing body. This joint request received the backing from both federal governments, and we would like to thank the Australian Sports Minister and the Indigenous Affairs Minister, who were both strong advocates of this initiative, for their support. This decision will mean so much to so many.”
New Zealand Football Chief Executive Officer Andrew Pragnell also acknowledged the significance of the decision: “Hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 provides an opportunity to shape the way the tournament evolves and interacts with its hosts in future editions and in particular in recognising the rights of Indigenous people worldwide. Flying tino rangatiratanga at the tournament alongside the official country flag is a powerful symbol, reflecting the partnership between the Crown and Māori that is the foundation of this country. I want to thank FIFA for this decision, as well as acknowledge the work of the New Zealand Government and the tournament’s cultural advisory panel in achieving this outcome.”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ will kick off on Thursday, 20 July, when New Zealand play Norway at Eden Park, Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau, while Australia take on the Republic of Ireland at Stadium Australia, Sydney/Wangal, on the same day. – www.fifa.com