European politicos tell FIFA and their broadcasters to get deal done on Women’s World Cup rights

FIFA TV camera

June 1 – The governments of Britain, France, Spain, Germany and Italy have called on FIFA and broadcasters to “quickly reach an agreement” on TV rights for the Women’s World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand. 

With less than 50 days to go until the kick-off of the women’s game flagship tournament, the five governments in a statement signed by sports ministers Nancy Faeser (Germany), Miguel Llorens (Spain), Amélie Oudea-Castera (France), Andrea Abodi (Italy) and Lucy Frazer (United Kingdom) “acknowledged with concern that until now, no television rights have been attributed for the matches broadcasting in our countries.”

“We are aware of the legitimate interests and budgetary constraints pressuring both assignees and independent broadcasters, who need a viable economic model for each of them. We also recognise the specific organisational constraints that are likely to affect the “market value” of the European broadcasters’ rights (period and hours of broadcasting),” read the statement.

“However, we are convinced that the media coverage of the Women’s World Cup will be decisive in improving the global visibility of women’s sports in our European countries. Media exposure to women’s sports has indeed a highly significant impact on the development of women’s and young girls’ sports practices.”

To prevent a blackout, the governments see it as their responsibility to “fully mobilise all stakeholders” and urged the parties to reach an agreement quickly.

In France, the broadcasting rights for the Women’s World Cup reportedly amount to less than 5% of the €130 million paid for the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year. Meanwhile, in Italy, the offer on the table for the Women’s World Cup is €1 million, which is less than 1% of the €160 million paid for the men’s World Cup. Italy’s national team did not even qualify for the global finals in Qatar.

In Germany, broadcasters have offered €3 million to show the tournament, less than 3% of the amount paid to televise the last two men’s World Cups, according to Kicker.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has repeatedly criticised broadcasters for not offering enough. At the start of this month, he said that offers from the ‘big five’ European countries remained “very disappointing and simply not acceptable.”

At the FIFA Congress in Kigali, Infantino explained that “FIFA is receiving between ten and hundred times less from public broadcasters for the women’s World Cup than the men’s World Cup. Do you think that is normal? At the same, these public broadcasters who are paid by the taxpayers’ money, they criticise FIFA, a bit less the others, for not guaranteeing equal pay to men and women.”

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