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FIFA avoids standoff with deal to broadcast Women’s 2023 World Cup

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the ninth edition to feature 32 teams, with several countries debuting on the international pitch for the first time. 

FIFA on Wednesday announced it had struck a deal with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to televise the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup just five weeks before kick-off.

Jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the Women’s World Cup is scheduled to take place from 20 July to 20 August, with word that a blackout by FIFA was likely after President Gianni Infantino voiced his frustration with the broadcasters.

Now the tournament will be broadcast by ITV and BBC in Britain, ARD, and ZDF in Germany, France Televisions, RAI (Italy), and RTVE (Spain), meaning all 64 matches will be shown free to air.

According to BBC Sports, all 64 matches from the tournament will be broadcast in the UK on either the BBC or ITV, besides the final on 20 August, which will instead be shown across both BBC One and ITV1.

Infantino hailed the deal as a chance to provide exposure for the tournament.

“FIFA is delighted to widen the deal with the European Broadcasting Union for the transmission of the upcoming Women’s World Cup to include the five major markets within their existing networks, namely France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as Ukraine, thus ensuring maximum exposure for the tournament,” Infantino said.

“As part of this agreement, the EBU has committed to working towards broadcasting at least one hour of weekly content dedicated to women’s football on its own digital platform and broadcaster network.”

During the Qatar World Cup, there was a surge of tensions between FIFA and broadcasters as Infantino threatened a Women’s World Cup broadcast blackout in five major European countries due to unsuitable offers of media rights for the tournament.

“The offers from broadcasters, mainly in the ‘Big 5’ European countries, are still very disappointing and simply not acceptable based on four criteria,” Infantino said at a panel discussion.

Infantino added, “broadcasters pay $100 to 200 million for the men’s FIFA World Cup, but they offer only $1 to 10 million for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

“Firstly, 100% of any rights fees paid would go straight into women’s football, in our move to promote actions towards equal conditions and pay. Secondly, public broadcasters in particular have a duty to promote and invest in women’s sport,” Infantino continued.

“Thirdly, the viewing figures of the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 50-60% of the men’s FIFA World Cup (which in turn are the highest of any event), yet the broadcasters’ offers in the ‘Big 5’ European countries for the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 20 to 100 times lower than for the men’s FIFA World Cup.”

The Women’s World Cup was the first of many as it also witnessed an increase by 300% to $150 million with “plans to dedicate a specific portion of this payment, to go to football development with another portion to go to players.”

The Women’s World Cup is set to begin when joint-hosts New Zealand face Norway.