Fifa president Gianni Infantino poked fun at the ‘today, I feel . . .’ speech he gave on the eve of the 2022 men’s World Cup, as he made reference to that now-infamous monologue as he spoke at the launch of the Women’s World Cup.

Last November, amidst widespread news coverage questioning the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar and and the rights of LGBT people in the men’s tournament’s host country, Infantino had begun a strange and lengthy sermon by saying: “Today I feel Qatari, today I feel Arab, today I feel African, today I feel gay, today I feel disabled, today I feel a migrant worker.”

Speaking in Auckland on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s opening match of the tournament, between co-hosts New Zealand and Norway in Group A at Eden Park, and just a couple of hours after landing in the country on a long-haul flight, a seemingly jet-lagged Infantino began his opening remarks by saying: “For those of you who are waiting to hear how ‘I feel’ today, today I feel tired, because I just landed, but I feel very happy. It’s a great joy and happiness to be here.”

Those light-hearted comments seemed to draw some smiles at the press conference, although more serious matters were discussed soon afterwards.

At this tournament, after a global agreement between the world players’ union Fifpro and Fifa, every player at the World Cup is set to receive at least $30,000 (£23,000) in bonuses for simply taking part in the group stages, as part of a new bonus agreement that Infantino hailed as “groundbreaking”.

For the semi-professional or amateur players competing for some of the poorer nations competing the tournament, such money is extremely significant and potentially life-changing.

However, Infantino was pressed on what guarantees could be made by Fifa to ensure all the players were to definitely receive the money that is owed to them, rather than it ended up with national FAs or in other hands, but the Fifa president appeared to pass the responsibility onto national FAs.

“We have issued recommendations but we are an association of associations. So whatever payments we make will be through the associations, and then the associations will make the relevant payments to their own players,” Infantino said.

“But we are in touch with all the associations, and there are all different situations in different parts of the world, taxation, residence and so on, which require special agreements that are agreements for some associations with the players from before, of course.”

Infantino also appeared to make a direct plea to New Zealanders to buy more tickets. When asked about ticket sales, he asked which camera in the room belonged to a New Zealand broadcaster before replying and then looking directly at that camera, said: “New Zealand, we want you, we need you, it’s never too late to do the right thing, come to watch the matches. We need full stadiums to warm us all up.”

That comes amidst reports that a high percentage of the tickets have been sold in Australia, for the tournament, but that take-up for the matches being staged in New Zealand has been far lower. Nonetheless, Fifa secretary-general Fatima Samoura added: “Four weeks ago we exceeded the number of ticket sales from France in 2019. We have exactly 1,375,000 tickets sold.”