FIFA flags blackout of Women’s World Cup in Europe

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said Europe’s top soccer nations face a broadcast blackout of this year’s Women’s World Cup unless media companies improve their “disappointing” bids for rights.

Proposals from the “Big Five” European countries – Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France – were not acceptable to soccer’s world governing body and were a “slap in the face” for players and “all women around the world,” Infantino said. .

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“To be very clear, we have a moral and legal obligation not to undersell the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Infantino told a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva.

“Therefore, if the offers are not fair, we will be forced not to broadcast the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the ‘Big Five’ European countries.”

The World Cup is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand and starts on July 20.

Infantino said broadcasters offered just $1 million to $10m USD for the rights compared to $100m-$200m for the rights to the Men’s World Cup.

Women’s World Cup matches will take place outside of prime time viewing for European markets due to time zone differences, but Infantino said that was no excuse.

“Maybe… it’s not played in prime time in Europe, but, still, it’s played at 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock in the morning, so it’s a pretty reasonable time,” he said.

According to a FIFA audit of the tournament, the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France attracted around 1.12 billion viewers across all platforms.

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