‘It would NEVER happen in the men’s game!’ Ian Wright blasts broadcasters over lack of publicity around Women’s World Cup – saying England’s Euros-winning stars have lost out on lucrative sponsorship deals
Ian Wright has slammed European broadcasters ahead of the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia, saying failures to reach deals to show the tournament has resulted in a lack of publicity that would ‘never happen’ in the men’s game.
Speaking in the latest episode of his podcast Wrighty’s House to guests Musa Okwonga and Ryan Hunn, the former Arsenal striker said he was astonished that with just six weeks until the tournament begins, there’s little promotion of it across Europe as broadcasters and FIFA have struggled to reach agreements on TV rights.
Wright said England’s Lionesses, who held aloft the Euros trophy at Wembley in 2022 in front of 87,000 fans, had been denied sponsorship deals and a spotlight on their ‘greatest moments’.
The tournament will kick off in 43 days time across Australia and New Zealand, with the first matches taking place on July 20th.
Last month, the government called on FIFA, BBC and ITV to reach a deal after fears of a UK TV blackout were raised.
A frustrated Ian Wright, who’s heading to Australia and New Zealand to cover the tournament, said with six weeks to go, the Women’s World Cup has been woefully promoted
Broadcast deals have still not yet been agreed for some of the biggest footballing countries ahead of the tournament.
In the passionate outburst, Wright said some football fans in the UK were unaware that the tournament was even happening because of the lack of publicity.
He said: ‘Whatever’s going on with the broadcasters and FIFA. They’ve got to sit down and resolve [it]. The Women’s World Cup can’t not be across Europe, man.
‘How can we not be showing up? This would never happen in the men’s game.
He continued: ‘Look at the amount of opportunities that these girls probably missed out on in respect of sponsorship deals leading into it.
‘It’s not a good look. You walk down the street and people don’t even know [it’s happening].’
TV blackout? There is a fear that the Women’s World Cup will not be broadcast in the United Kingdom
The disheartened star said broadcasters had failed to capitalise on the momentum from last year’s Euros, which saw England victorious
Many of those listening in agreed. One fan commented: ‘Any broadcaster that refuses to show the world cup or doesn’t want to pay the money, should be blocked from showing the men’s world cup.’
Another added: ‘It’s a joke it’s not being advertised across all media platforms. Let’s get behind the ladies game and make sure it continues to grow at pace.’
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has claimed bids of between £800,000 and £8million ($1m and $10m) had been made from broadcasters compared to £80.3m-£160m ($100m-200 m) for the men’s version.
Speaking at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva in May, Infantino added that if offers ‘continue not to be fair, we will be forced not to broadcast the FIFA Women’s World Cup into the ‘Big 5′ European countries’.
Gianni Infantino (middle) has described bids from broadcasters in the ‘Big Five’ European countries as ‘very disappointing’ and a ‘slap in the face’
Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – along with government representatives from Germany, France, Spain and Italy – urged broadcasters and FIFA to strike a deal quickly.
They said: ‘Because of the high potential of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the sport and social issues at stake, we consider it our responsibility to fully mobilise all stakeholders, for them to quickly reach an agreement.
‘These are decisions for FIFA and broadcasters to take independently, but we know that discussions are in progress and we are confident in FIFA and independent broadcasters’ capability to find a common path toward fair development of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.’