The 2015 Women's World Cup began June 6, mere days after the break of FIFA's historic scandal.

If it weren't such a doomsday scenario for the organization's top leadership, one could easily interpret the headlines as a way to wrest attention and momentum from the female stars who perform under the banner of its organization.

Given the circumstances, though, former USWNT member Julie Foudy breathed a sigh of relief.

"I think everyone in the game thought it was about damn time," says Foudy, who now serves as an analyst for espnW. "They've been a legendary joke in the way they do business, and you just wondered how long they could let it go on.

"The irony is the country that came latest to [embracing soccer], and cares least about the game, is the country that brought it down."

FIFA's plague of corruption, which involved hundreds of millions of dollars illegally collected over decades, is a story that will continue to unfold over months, if not years. But everyone involved in women's soccer sees the organization's inevitable reforms as an opportunity to gain greater consideration and support from FIFA.

The sport's most influential voices have wasted no time in seizing upon the opportunity.

"Before, there was not a lot of conversation about how it was being run," said former U.S. star Brandi Chastain to the Huffington Post. "It was just FIFA. It was FIFA. And now, whether our new president -- male or female -- will have to be more a thoughtful, more transparent leader.

"And what I'm hoping is that they will see women's soccer on par with men's soccer and support it in the same way. ... And I look forward to that in the future."

The relationship between FIFA and its female athletes has been heavily strained by the governing body's attitudes toward women.

Often, the dynamic is an uncomfortable one. FIFA insists on owning the women's game, and sitting president Sepp Blatter has championed himself as the " godfather" -- his word -- of women's soccer, despite his track record of chauvinism.

At the same time, FIFA placed the women's side several rungs below the men's game, in terms of monetary support, competitive fairness and even player safety.

The World Cup is currently being played on artificial turfs that the women players have repeatedly decried as sexist and unfair -- the fake grass inflicts far more injuries on athletes than natural grass, which is provided for the men's World Cup.

Earlier this year, Alex Morgan -- a former FIFA World Player of the Year, and one of the most recognizable female soccer players in the world -- said Blatter didn't know who she was.

Blatter gets plenty of press coverage for his sexist attitudes, and the attention is well-deserved. But the flawed logic is in assuming that getting rid of Blatter will solve the organization's dismissive handling of the women's game.

"[FIFA's sexist culture] is pervasive, he's the one at the top," Foudy says. "But FIFA is legendary for that pervasive attitude. That's where I hope there's a whole change and shift.

"This is a billion-dollar business. Any good business knows you have to have diversity of thought. That's the only way you can excel."

Foudy points out that some incremental improvements have taken place over time. She mentions Moya Dodd, a former women's star and currently one of three women on FIFA's 27-member executive committee, as a force for change in the organization. Dodd is the chairperson of the FIFA Task Force for Women's Football, an initiative within FIFA designed to grow and support the women's game.

As FIFA's scandal brings top-level soccer executives to justice, it will create leadership openings that could go toward building a larger presence for women within the organization. Dodd could be sought out to fill an even larger role, thereby gaining greater clout within the organization and giving women's initiatives greater consideration.

Foudy also notes that the next president to replace Blatter -- assuming he follows through and resigns his position -- has a chance to use the growing women's game as a pillar of his or her legacy.

That could go a long way toward improving support for women's soccer as well as the on-field game. But Foudy also insists that the smaller soccer federations that make up FIFA will also need to provide better financial and resource-based support to women's soccer if the sport is going to realize its potential.

Outside of a handful of programs enjoying strong backing by their national soccer organizations -- among them the United States and Germany, who face off in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal -- many international women's squads struggle to succeed in the face of weak domestic support.

Despite a potential talent base, Brazil has a poor infrastructure for nurturing women's soccer, putting its women's national teams at a competitive disadvantage. Foudy points to France as an example of how improved support from federations can quickly change on-field results.

After fielding a sub-par women's soccer product for years, France dedicated its resources to building a strong women's national team. The team entered this World Cup ranked No. 3 in the world, losing to No. 1 Germany on penalty kicks in the Round of Eight.

"They're reaping the benefits of that investment," Foudy says.

After its deflating loss to Germany, France's players were quick to point out another measure of injustice afflicting the women's game. French star Camille Abily slammed FIFA for forming World Cup groups based on which matchups would sell the most tickets and draw the largest TV crowds, instead of trying to create a balanced tournament bracket, which the men's World Cup enjoys.

As a result, the world's top three teams -- U.S.A., Germany and France -- were all placed on one side of the bracket, with two of the top three teams facing off in a quarterfinal.

"This is not to blame them [for the loss] but why don’t we do it like the boys?" Abily told French newspaper L'Equipe after the game. "At some point they have to stop taking us for idiots. ... I'm sorry but if they did a real draw, maybe we would not have played Germany or the United States after."

In other words, FIFA concluded that it had to choose between competitive balance and maximum revenues -- and it sided with money. That's not entirely surprising for a business, but it comes at the cost of compromising your sacred product, which is the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the numbers from this year's tournament suggest that FIFA underestimated the draw of women's soccer. Reuters has reported that the USWNT's opening World Cup match in 2015 drew triple the TV audience drawn by its opening match in 2011. The TV audience in China has doubled in four years, and in-person attendance of Women's World Cup matches has doubled to 1.5 million.

That kind of performance is making a strong case that women's soccer is a product in need of better management -- and that includes better support. For all of its treatment from FIFA as a secondary sport, the Women's World Cup is now a legitimate source of revenue.

Money talks. Proponents of the women's game hope that FIFA's incoming leadership are ready to listen.

"Just consider the fact that they are so many light years behind the rest of the world in running a business," Foudy says. "They're going to have to have sweeping changes."

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