Europe’s top football nations face a broadcast blackout for this year’s Women’s World Cup unless media organisations improve their “disappointing” offers for the rights, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
Offers from “Big Five” European countries — Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France — were not acceptable to football’s world governing body, and a “slap in the face” of the players and “all women worldwide,” Infantino said.
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“To be very clear, it is our moral and legal obligation not to undersell the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Infantino said at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva.
“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 Five’ European countries.”
The World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, starts on July 20.
Infantino said broadcasters had offered only between $1 million and $10m USD for the rights, compared with $100m-$200m for rights to the men’s World Cup.
Women’s World Cup matches will be held outside prime time viewing hours for European markets due to the time zone difference, but Infantino said that was no excuse.
“Maybe … it’s not played on prime time in Europe, but, still, it is played at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., so it is quite a reasonable time,” he said.
Some 1.12 billion viewers tuned into the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France across all platforms, according to a FIFA audit of the tournament.