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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

FIFA $100 million short of goal for 2023 Women’s World Cup broadcast rights fees

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Fox Sports will broadcast the Women's World Cup in the United States, with their team due to play their group matches in New Zealand, meaning games will be shown at a time better for viewers ©Fox Sports

FIFA has fallen roughly $100 million (£76 million/€89 million) short of its goal for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand broadcast rights fees.

The game’s international ruling body aimed to sign deals valuing the quadrennial event’s global broadcasting rights at $300 million (£229 million/€267 million), but it will instead settle for closer to $200 million (£152million/€178million), the Wall Street Journal reports.

FIFA is on track to bring in about $50 million (£38 million/€44 million) in new broadcast rights sales since last year’s men’s World Cup, which is about a third of the $150 million (£115 million/€133 million) new fees it hoped to secure.

This year’s Women’s World Cup is the first in which FIFA separately sold broadcast rights to the tournament, a break from the past in which the rights were essentially given for free to broadcasters who bought rights to the men’s tournament.

In May, FIFA President Gianni Infantino branded rights offers from the five leading European nations to broadcast the event as “a slap in the face for women worldwide” and warned that they could face a television blackout unless offers were improved.

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“The viewing figures of the FIFA Women’s World Cup are 50-60 per cent of the men’s FIFA World Cup, 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,” he added.

But last month a deal was done which added the Big Five – and Ukraine – to the European Broadcasting Union arrangement to broadcast the World Cup free-to-air in a number of other European countries.

But the level of the European arrangement was reflected by the joint deal with BBC and ITV for the rights, which is reportedly worth around £9 million (£11.5 million/€10.5 million) which is just eight per cent of the cost of televising the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

In the United States, however, Fox has recorded strong ad sales for its upcoming Women’s World Cup coverage, selling out 90 per cent of its inventory by June and 50 per cent more than the 2019 tournament.

Fox Sports chief executive Eric Shanks told Front Office Sports that the suboptimal time difference is why FIFA placed the United States team in New Zealand instead of Australia.

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“I think that’s a big reason why FIFA realised that it’s probably better for the US national team to be based in New Zealand,” Shanks said.

“One of the reasons probably is that time zone’s much more friendly to the U.S.

“So we’ll have the early games while they’re in New Zealand starting at like 9pm Eastern.

“And then it kinda gets a little bit all over the place; they’re either gonna be primetime games or fairly earlier in the morning.”

-insidethegames

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

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The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

‘It shall be showers of goals’, vows Flamingos ahead of Liberia clash

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Head Coach Bankole Olowookere is confident that the Nigeria U17 girls, Flamingos, will not take their feet off the pedal when they take on their Liberian counterparts in a FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying match in Abuja on Friday.

“We are battle-ready for the match on Friday. The girls are raring to go because they want to go to the World Cup. They are already dreaming of flying to the Dominican Republic.

“There is so much excitement in camp, and they are self-assured. However, I have warned them that it is never over until it is over. There should be no display of over-confidence on the pitch. We must approach the match like the first leg was a drawn game.”

Nigeria won the first leg 4-1 in Monrovia on Sunday, with 11-goal qualifying series revelation Harmony Chidi, Shakirat Moshood, Peace Effiong and substitute Blessing Ifitezue banging in the goals for the Flamingos. The hosts got their consolation goal off a penalty awarded with five minutes left of the encounter at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The Flamingos will take part in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup for the seventh time once they cross Friday’s hurdle.

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They featured at the inaugural edition in New Zealand in 2008, and subsequently at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Azerbaijan 2012, Costa Rica 2014, Jordan 2016 and India 2022, where they won the bronze medals.  

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Flamingos hammer hosts Liberia 4-1, put one leg in World Cup finals

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FIFA World Cup bronze medallists Nigeria routed Liberia 4-1 in a fast-paced FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying round, first leg encounter in Monrovia on Sunday.

The Flamingos got off to a pretty quick start at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex at the Paynesville, but the Liberian girls, who shocked Senegal on the away-goal rule to reach this final round, warded off the early threats.

Nigeria got the ball into the net after 14 minutes, but Chadian referee Lare Lamngar ruled it off. Not to be deterred or discouraged, the Flamingos poured forward once again, and in the 19th minute, Shakirat Moshood opened the scoring from a sweet solo run.

Peace Effiong, who got a brace in the 6-0 defeat of Burkina Faso at the MKO Abiola National Stadium last month, scored in the 29th minute to put a wedge of respect between the two teams.

Usual suspect Harmony Chidi, scorer of six of the 12 goals that sank the Central African Republic, and who equally netted four in the 7-1 dismissal of Burkina Faso in the last round, headed home her 11th goal of the qualifying series in the 36th minute to put daylight between both teams.

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On resumption, Nigeria continued to dominate, and substitute Blessing Ifitezue made it four with 16 minutes left.

Liberia scored a consolation goal with five minutes left, from the penalty spot, through Yassah Gwaikolo, after substitute Onyedikachi Ekezie was adjudged to have committed a foul in the area.

The Flamingos will return to Nigeria on Tuesday, and immediately commence preparations for the return leg encounter scheduled for Friday at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

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