Flags representing Aboriginal and Maori people will be flown at stadiums hosting women’s World Cup matches in Australia and New Zealand after FIFA agreed to the move on Friday.
Gianni Infantino, head of the world governing body, said he recognized the importance of Indigenous populations being part of the showpiece event, which kicks off on July 20.
“These significant flags express a spirit of mutual respect, national identity, and recognition of indigenous cultures for our hosts,” he said in a statement.
Football Australia chief James Johnson said their presence alongside the co-hosts’ national flags aligned with the tournament’s key message of inclusion.
“Confirmation by FIFA that all official flags of Australia will be flown during the women’s World Cup is an important moment for all Australians, particularly First Nations people,” he said.
“This decision aligns with the values of our organization with diversity and inclusion at the core of what we are about as a governing body and our vision for the tournament.”
New Zealand Football chief Andrew Pragnell added it would help “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”.
The decision came after a recommendation from the event’s all-woman First Nations and Maori Cultural Advisory Panel, which was backed by the New Zealand and Australian governments.
It will see Australia’s national flag, the Australian Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag displayed at all 35 matches played in Australia.
The Maori flag — known as Tino Rangatiratanga — will fly alongside the New Zealand national flag at the 29 games in New Zealand.