African nations dutifully follow FIFA line on World Cup TV rights takeover

By Osasu Obayiuwana 

August 20 – With 24 hours to FIFA’s August 21 deadline – for the 54 nations of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to sign an “irrevocable” mandate, giving the world governing body the exclusive power to sell their media and marketing rights for the 2022 and 2026 World Cup qualifiers – it appears that the continent has fallen in line with the demand. 

Under the media and marketing rights centralisation arrangement, FIFA has proposed that: “All media rights (first, second and third-party) including live, delayed and highlights coverage, and on all distribution platforms to all matches of the FIFA African Qualifiers 2022 and 2026 (including the playoffs), to be centrally marketed by FIFA.”

FIFA, in the one-page mandate sent to all 54 members of CAF on August 13, also went on to state: “All net revenues generated through the centrally marketed media rights will be fully distributed amongst the 54 African member associations of FIFA and members of CAF…”

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), one of the continent’s big hitters, signed the mandate on August 19.

“It will guarantee more transparency and professionalism in the sales of Africa’s [media] rights for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which will eventually increase the revenues to be generated,” Shehu Dikko, the NFF’s second vice-president, told Insideworldfootball.

“FIFA already has systems in place and the capacity to manage the process expertly,” Dikko, a member of FIFA’s Football Stakeholders Committee, argues.

“They will ensure the most professional packaging and marketing of the matches (rights), which will ensure the appropriate value are derived for the rights.”

“The collective sales of media rights will ensure more revenues are generated and guarantee that even the smaller countries – which under normal circumstances, may not make any revenue – would now be able to derive fair benefits, which they can reinvest in developing football in their countries,” Dikko went on.

Andrew Kamanga, president of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), also confirmed to Insideworldfootball that his association have signed the mandate.

But one FA President told Insideworldfootball that he was left with no choice but to sign the mandate, in order to avoid the “ire of FIFA and CAF”.

“The mandate sent to us was not a consultative document. There was no room for discussion or negotiation. It was a ‘this is an agreement and we must sign it’ document.

“Left to me, this matter requires a lot of discussions and consultation. But when you are alone, on an issue like this, it is very difficult. I had no choice but to sign it, ” he said.

All countries that sign the FIFA agreement will be unable to regain control of their rights until 2027, ahead of the qualifiers for the 2030 World Cup.

Contact the writer of this story, Osasu Obayiuwana, at moc.l1569033006labto1569033006ofdlr1569033006owedi1569033006sni@o1569033006fni1569033006