The head of FIFA has threatened not to show this year’s Women’s World Cup in five European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in a row over money.
Gianni Infantino said the current offers from broadcasters for the rights were “disappointing” and described them as a “slap in the face” of all great players and “all women worldwide”.
The president said it was the “moral and legal obligation” of football’s world governing body “not to undersell” the tournament, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and runs from 20 July to 20 August.
Mr Infantino said if 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 claimed broadcasters had offered FIFA between $1m (£800,000) and $10m (£8m) for the rights, compared with $100m (£80m) to $200m (£160m) for the men’s World Cup.
Mr Infantino made similar statements at FIFA’s 73rd congress last month, and has now reiterated his critique at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva.
In an Instagram post, Mr Infantino later wrote: “Today, I have repeated my call for broadcasters to pay a fair price for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 media rights. We did our part: FIFA has raised the prize money to $152m, treble the amount paid in 2019 and 10 times more than in 2015 (before I became FIFA president).
“However, the offers from broadcasters, mainly in the ‘Big 5’ European countries, are still very disappointing and simply not acceptable, especially considering that:
“1) 100% of any rights fees paid would go straight into women’s football, in our move to promote actions towards equal conditions and pay.