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UK government calls on FIFA to settle Women’s World Cup broadcasting row

The UK government has joined forces with a host of other European nations to urge FIFA to strike a deal with broadcasters before this summer’s Women’s World Cup.

The Lionesses, who triumphed at last summer’s Euros, will be among the 32 countries battling it out at this summer’s showpiece tournament in Australia and New Zealand. However, with just 50 days to go until the first game gets underway, there has still been no confirmation of where the World Cup will be broadcast in the UK and Europe.

Earlier this month, FIFA President Gianni Infantino branded the current broadcasting offers as “disappointing” and accused media organisations of attempting to low-ball football’s governing body.

And now Lucy Frazer, the UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has publicly voiced her concern on the issue.

A joint statement from Frazer and the Sports Ministers of Germany, Spain, France and Italy was released on Wednesday, noting that media exposure to women’s sports has “a highly significant impact on the development of women’s and young girls’ sports practices”.

The statement reads: “We, as Sports Ministers of European countries whose women’s national football teams have qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand, from the 20th of July to the 20th of August 2023, have acknowledged with concern that until now, no television rights have been attributed for the matches broadcasting in our countries.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer has put her name to Wednesday’s joint statement
“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).

“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.”

The statement also adds that the Sports Ministers are confident in FIFA and independent broadcasters’ capability to reach an agreement.

This upcoming World Cup marks the first time FIFA is selling broadcasting rights separately from the men’s equivalent competition. Infantino has said broadcasters are not offering upwards of $10million, with the men’s tournament attracting anywhere between $100-200million.

The last women’s World Cup in France back in 2019 attracted around 1.12billion viewers around the planet. However the time difference between Europe and host nations Australia and New Zealand means the games won’t be shown in primetime slots across the big European nations this summer.

It was reported back in March that both ITV and BBC were close to finalising a deal to share broadcasting rights for the tournament however nothing has yet been confirmed. Mirror

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