Maia Jackman, a former New Zealand international and a FIFA "Beyond Greatness Champion," spoke out against Saudi sponsorship of the Women's World Cup.

Jackman called the sponsorship "a disempowering message" for women and in opposition to female empowerment.

Australia and New Zealand, the co-hosts of the tournament, wrote to FIFA seeking clarification after reports of Saudi sponsorship.

Jackman said that FIFA has the power to change the world for females and this sponsorship would negatively impact her work as a World Cup ambassador.

FIFA and Visit Saudi declined to comment on the sponsorship, but the prospect of a deal has sparked outrage in the host countries.

Kate Gill, co-chair of players union Professional Footballers Australia, criticized FIFA for not meeting human rights commitments and not consulting players on commercial decisions.

New Zealand's sports minister Grant Robertson called on FIFA to consider the country's progress on empowering women and girls when making commercial arrangements.

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced reforms for women, but men still hold power in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia also has aspirations to host the World Cup in 2030 and the Women's Asian Cup in 2026.

Ibrahim Al Kassim, the secretary general of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said the sponsorship is part of Saudi Arabia's new engagement with the world and efforts to show what the country is capable of.