AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Broadcasters came under fire Saturday from FIFA President Gianni Infantino for what he called unacceptably low bids for the rights to broadcast next year’s Women’s World Cup.
Offers of just 1% of the value of rights to the men’s World Cup have been rejected, Infantino said, for the tournament that starts in July in Australia and New Zealand.
The men’s World Cup pushed FIFA’s expected overall revenue toward $7 billion for the four-year business cycle ending in December after the tournament in Qatar.
“100 times less, even more than 100 times on some occasions, then this is not acceptable,” the FIFA leader told a news conference ahead of the final tournament draw. “I don’t want to mention them, but those who are there know it.”
The time zones of Australia and New Zealand mean that many games, especially in the group stage, will be played overnight in lucrative markets in Europe and the Americas.
“We’re not going to accept this,” Infantino said of the broadcast deals, “because we know that the viewing figures for these broadcasters in some big soccer countries for the men’s World Cup or for the women’s World Cup are actually very similar…it’s say their business income is very similar for men and women”.
Infantino further mocked broadcasters who he said pushed FIFA to treat women’s football more equitably. on issues like World Cup prize money.
The 32 teams at the men’s World Cup in Qatar will share $440 million in prize money, while a $60 million prize fund has been proposed for the first 32-team women’s edition in 2023.
“In some countries, they are quite good at telling us… that we should put more emphasis on equal opportunities, on equality, on non-discrimination, on treating men and women the same way which is of course what we have to do. we do, and we try to do the best we can,” Infantino said.
“It is important that everyone puts actions behind the words and that we all start treating women’s football in the same way.”
FIFA has changed the business model of the Women’s World Cup to earn its own revenue rather than simply being an additional package for broadcasters and sponsors who make deals for the men’s tournament.
Infantino suggested a greater push for equality in women’s football, noting that Olympic tournaments have 16 men’s teams and only 12 women’s.
“Women should also have 16 teams at the Olympics,” she said. “These are some discussions that we are going to have.”
Adding four women’s teams would need more than 70 athlete quotas at a time when the International Olympic Committee is asking some governing bodies to make cuts to help find space for new sports and control costs for organizers.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup