‘We’re not going to accept this’: FIFA president slams low TV deal offers for Women’s World Cup

Broadcasters were criticized by FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Saturday for what he said were unacceptable bids for the rights to broadcast the Women’s World Cup next year.

Offers of just 1% of the value of men’s World Cup rights deals have been rejected, Infantino said, for the tournament which begins in July in Australia and New Zealand.

The Men’s World Cup brought FIFA’s expected overall revenue to US$7 billion for the four-year business cycle that ends in December after this tournament in Qatar.

« 100 times less, even more than 100 times on some occasions, so it’s not acceptable, » the FIFA leader told a press conference ahead of the tournament draw. « I don’t want to quote them, but those who are there, they know it. »

The time zones in Australia and New Zealand mean that many matches, especially in the group stage, will be played at night in lucrative markets in Europe and the Americas.

“We are not going to accept this,” Infantino said of the broadcast offers, “because we know that the audience figures for these broadcasters in some major football countries for the Men’s World Cup or for the FIFA World Cup women’s world are actually very similar, which means their trading income is very similar for men and for women. »

Infantino further criticized broadcasters who he said pushed FIFA to treat women’s football more fairly on issues such as World Cup prize money.

It’s time to treat men and women ‘equally’

The 32 teams of the men’s World Cup in Qatar will share $440 million in prize money, while a fund of $60 million has been offered for the first 32-team women’s edition in 2023.

« In some countries they are good enough to tell us that we should put more emphasis on equal opportunities, on equality, on non-discrimination, on treating men and women equally , which is, of course, what we have to do, and we try to do it to the best of our abilities, » Infantino said.

« It’s important that everyone puts actions behind words and we’re all starting to treat women’s football the same way. »

FIFA has changed the business model of the Women’s World Cup to earning its own revenue instead of just being presented as an add-on for broadcasters and sponsors making deals for the men’s tournament.

Infantino suggested a new push for equality for women’s football, noting that the Olympic tournaments have 16 men’s teams and only 12 for women.

« Women should also have 16 teams in the Olympics, » he said. « These are discussions we are going to have. »

Adding four women’s teams would require more than 70 athlete quota places as the International Olympic Committee asks some governing bodies to make cuts to help find space for new sports and control the costs of sports. organizers.

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