Publicly criticising broadcasters for offering too little to screen the Women’s World Cup has not worked out yet for Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who is now threatening a blackout in some major European markets.
Infantino intensified a public standoff that started last October with a warning late on Monday to five key countries — England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain — in a statement published less than three months before the tournament starts in Australia and New Zealand.
“To be very clear, it is our moral and legal obligation not to undersell the Fifa Women’s World Cup,” Infantino said of the July 20-August 20 tournament.
“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 5’ European countries,” he said.
Infantino first aired the issue seven months ago, when in Auckland for the official draw for the 32-team tournament, saying that offers as low as 1per cent of the TV rights price paid for the men’s World Cup were “not acceptable.”
In March, Infantino reported no progress with TV broadcasters while also announcing a more than three-fold increase in team prize money to $110 million for the tournament.Infantino has been clearly rankled that player-led criticism of Fifa not offering equal prize money is amplified by the media.