FIFA hints Britain could be BLOCKED from watching Women's World Cup

FIFA hints Britain will be BLOCKED from watching Women’s World Cup after ‘the Big Five’ European nations offered ‘very disappointing’ amounts for TV rights

  • Infantino called for a ‘fair price’ for the Women’s World Cup broadcasting rights. 
  • The FIFA boss suggested the blackout could span the ‘big five’ European nations

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has hinted that Britain could be blocked from watching this year’s Women’s World Cup unless broadcasters improve their offers for television rights.

The FIFA boss suggested that the television blackout could also span the other members of the ‘big five’ European nations – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – as he branded their bids ‘very disappointing’.

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.

On the attack again on Monday, less than three months before the tournament is due to start in Australia and New Zealand, Infantino called for a ‘fair price’ for the media rights.

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

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has threatened that Britain could be blocked from watching this year’s Women’s World Cup. He is pictured holding the official tournament ball in Geneva, May 1, 2023

England’s midfielder Leah Williamson (centre left) and England’s defender Millie Bright (centre right) lift the trophy as England’s players celebrate after their win in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final,April 6, 2023

England’s Rachel Daly, Georgia Stanway, Kiera Walsh and Ella Toone celebrate victory in the penalty shoot-out following the Women’s Finalissima at Wembley Stadium, April 6, 2023

‘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 (around £800,000) and $10 million (£8 million) to show the Women’s World Cup, compared to the $100-200 million (£80-160 million) they pay for the men’s version.

It is understood Infantio was referring to the ‘big five’ as 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,’ added 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 United States celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup with the trophy at the Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France, July 7, 2019

Female players worldwide have long been fighting for equal pay with men’s national teams. Pictured: United States’ Megan Rapinoe, right, celebrates after scoring at the 2019 Women’s World Cup final against the Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, France, July 7, 2019

This comes after Infantino set a target of equal prize money for men and women at World Cups by 2027.

This year’s tournament will see the women get a 300 per cent increase in prize money

There is a $150million (£125m) fund for the very first 32-team women’s tournament, a huge boost from the 24-team edition in 2019, and a budget ten times what it was in 2015.

Speaking after being re-elected by acclimation through until 2027 last month, the FIFA President insisted that around $60m (£50m) should be dedicated to paying players, but that he wants to close the gap to the men’s game completely in the next four years.

A total of $440m (£365m) was shared by the 32 men’s teams at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, highlighting the significant difference in pay that currently exists.

Female players worldwide have long been fighting for equal pay and equal respect with men’s national teams, including the defending champions the United States, as well as Canada, France and Spain.

This year’s Women’s World Cup starts on July 20 and ends a month later on August 20.

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