Football: FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura assures all-inclusive Women's World Cup in New Zealand

Organisers of the FIFA Women's World Cup in both New Zealand and Australia can breathe a sigh of relief, with assurances from one of the most powerful figures in world football that one of the major controversies of last year's men's event in Qatar will not be a factor 'down under'.

Last year, players and teams were threatened with sanctions for making statements on social issues, including LGBTQ rights at the men's World Cup.

FIFA's Secretary General - Fatma Samoura - confirmed to Newshub that won't be the case this time, while also teasing this may not be the only World Cup to be held on these shores.

"Regardless of gender, it's going to be the best World Cup," Samoura told Newshub.

It's a lofty target for a tournament that kicks off in just 37 days. But Samoura sees no reason it can't happen, and leave a long-lasting positive legacy in the process.

Helping that cause is the governing body making their stance clear on issues that go beyond football.

"Will we see social messaging be allowed at this World Cup? Of course. Will that also include indigenous people, indigenous flags? Definitely. LGBTQ? Definitely."

That's a far cry from the controversy and criticism in Qatar, in the early parts of last year's men's World Cup.

Among them, the stripping of 'One Love' armbands, banning of various flags and halting of player-led protests.

"What's changed from last year's World Cup to allow that to happen? More discussion and more positive dialogue," said the former Senegalese diplomat.

"And everyone would like to make sure that the tensions during the first World Cup in Qatar, don't repeat."

After last year's disruption, FIFA wants this tournament to run without any real blips.Should that happen, it could bode well to push for co-hosting a men's World Cup in the future.

"I think that's the dream of every country that hosts a grassroots or a youth competition or women's football," Samoura noted.

"The next milestone will be hosting a men's World Cup and I wish good luck."

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