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2023 Women’s World Cup rights: Governments call for Fifa and broadcasters to reach quick agreement

UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain sports ministers urge for deals to be struck in order to avoid broadcast blackout.

31 May 2023 PA

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  • Sports ministers say media coverage would be ‘decisive’ in improving visibility of women’s sports
  • Fifa president Gianni Infantino has labelled offers so far as “disappointing”

The UK government has joined others across Europe to call for quick agreement over televising the Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

The tournament kicks off on 20th July with England and the Republic of Ireland among the 32 competing nations.

But broadcast deals between some of Europe’s biggest nations – including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – and Fifa have yet to be struck and the danger persists that the biggest tournament in women’s soccer faces a TV blackout in those countries.

‘We have acknowledged with concern that until now, no television rights have been attributed for the matches broadcasting in our countries,’ read a joint statement from the sports ministers of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

‘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).’

The five sports ministers said media coverage of the tournament would be ‘decisive’ in improving the visibility of women’s sports in their countries.

‘Because of the high potential of the Fifa Women’s World Cup and the sport and social issues at stake, we consider it our responsibility to fully mobilise all stakeholders, for them to quickly reach an agreement,’ the statement added.

‘These are decisions for Fifa and broadcasters to take independently, but we know that discussions are in progress and we are confident in Fifa and independent broadcasters’ capability to find a common path toward fair development of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.’

With 50 days to go until the Women’s World Cup starts, organisers have confirmed that more than 850,000 tickets have been sold for the event. A Fifa spokesperson also told BBC Sport that it is expecting the one million tickets sold mark “over the next few weeks”.

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