Europe's top footballing nations could be deprived of the telecast of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA President Gianni Infantino threatened. The top five countries Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France haven't managed to secure a broadcasting deal for the upcoming footballing extravaganza as it stands. Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand the World Cup is scheduled to start from 20th July.
England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have all qualified for the first Women’s World Cup to have 32 teams, and FIFA has a standby broadcasting option with its own online streaming platform FIFA+. The FIFA president reiterated the fact that FIFa will not undersell the tournament as there are currently no suitable offers in place.
To be very clear, it is our moral and legal obligation not to undersell the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Therefore, should the offers continue not to be fair, we will be forced not to broadcast the FIFA Women’s World Cup into the ‘Big 5’ European countries. Women deserve it! As simple as that. Maybe it’s not played on prime-time in Europe, but still, it is played at 9am or 10am, so it is quite a reasonable time. Women deserve much, much more than that and we are there to fight for them and with them. Well, offer us 20% less, 50% less. But not 100% less, that’s why we can’t do it.
Earlier there has also been a massive increase in the prize money. The total $152 million prize money is more than what was offered in the 2019 World Cup. Infantino had earlier cautioned that he won't budge under pressure as they vowed to fight for the equal rights for women's football.
At the 2019 Women’s World Cup hosted by France, FIFA claimed a total global audience of 1.12 billion for the 52-game tournament across all broadcast platforms. A verified average live audience of 82 million viewers watched the 2019 final with 263 million people watching at least one minute of the United States’ victory over the Netherlands.
While FIFA is playing hardball with broadcasters, European soccer body UEFA took a different approach to build an audience for its annual Women’s Champions League competition giving games away for free on YouTube.
UEFA signed a four-year deal in 2021 with streaming platform DAZN that ensured fans in Europe could watch the first two seasons on YouTube. Some games will also be free for the next two seasons.
With inputs from AP