FIFA threatens European TV blackout of Women’s World Cup

Geneva: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has threatened a television blackout of this year’s Women’s World Cup in major European countries unless broadcasters improve their offers for rights.

Infantino in October criticised broadcasters who he said had offered “100 times less” to screen the Women’s World Cup compared to the men’s tournament.

He went on the attack again on Monday, less than three months before the start of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, calling for a “fair price” for media rights.

FIFA is yet to sell rights for the tournament to some major markets, football’s governing body said in a statement.

“The offers from broadcasters, mainly in the ‘Big Five’ European countries, are still very disappointing,” he said at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, stressing that the revenue will go back into women’s football to help grow the game.

Infantino accused broadcasters of offering between $1 million and $10 million to show the Women’s World Cup, compared to the $100-200 million they pay for the men’s version.

The five countries are thought to be Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

“This is a slap in the face of all the great FIFA Women’s World Cup players and indeed of all women worldwide,” said Infantino.

“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 (towards women and women’s football), we will be forced not to broadcast the FIFA Women’s World Cup into the ‘Big Five’ European countries.”

Because of the time difference, World Cup matches will not take place during prime-time hours in Europe, but Infantino said that was no excuse.

“Maybe, because it is in Australia and New Zealand, it’s not played on prime time in Europe, but still, it is played at 9:00 am or 10:00 am, so it is quite a reasonable time,” he said.

The World Cup starts on July 20 and ends August 20.

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