SYDNEY — First Nations flags will be flown at Women’s World Cup stadiums in Australia and New Zealand after soccer’s international governing body agreed to make exceptions to the usually restrictive FIFA match day regulations for tournament venues.
The Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander flags will be displayed along with the national flag at all six venues in Australia. All three are official flags of Australia. The Maori flag known as Tino Rangatiratanga and the official New Zealand flag will be displayed at all 29 matches in New Zealand.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed the decision Friday, during a week that celebrates First Nations people in Australia.
“FIFA has acknowledged the request made by its Cultural Advisory Panel as well as Football Australia and New Zealand Football, which was supported by governments in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand,” Infantino said in a statement. "These significant flags express a spirit of mutual respect, national identity, and recognition of Indigenous cultures for our hosts.”
New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said displaying the Tino Rangatiratanga at the tournament alongside the New Zealand flag “is a powerful symbol.”
The 2023 World Cup “provides an opportunity to shape the way the tournament evolves and interacts with its hosts in future editions and in particular in recognizing the rights of Indigenous people worldwide,” Pragnell said.
Football Australia CEO James Johnson said the approval "aligns with the values of our organization with diversity and inclusion at the core ... and our vision for the tournament."
The Women's World Cup kicks off July 20 with New Zealand against Norway in Auckland and Australia against Ireland in Sydney.