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Breakthrough in broadcasting deal for women's World Cup

Published: 12:22, 2 Feb 2023 Updated: 12:44, 6 Feb 2023

Reports suggest that BBC and ITV will likely provide coverage of the tournament from Australia and New Zealand this summer

It has been reported that football's world governing body FIFA has agreed a deal with UK broadcasters to televise coverage of the upcoming women's World Cup, which is set to take place in July and August of this year.

With the tournament swiftly approaching, there are concerns in some quarters with a broadcasting deal in the UK still yet to be announced.

However, sources suggest that a deal has been reached and right now it seems highly probable that public broadcasters BBC and ITV will win the rights.

The two historic channels shared the rights to the men's World Cup a few months ago and are expected to do the same for the women's edition, which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

An agreement for the women's World Cup to be aired on terrestrial television is expected to be made soon, but there is still nothing official to report as of yet.

Whoever does televise the event, one thing is for sure and that is that British viewers will need to be very dedicated if they are to follow coverage live. Due to the competition being held in Australia and New Zealand, most matches will take place in the early morning UK time.

It is believed that this factor has provided one of the major sticking points in negotiations. FIFA are said to have been expecting a fee something in the region of what UEFA received from the British broadcasters for the rights to the women's Euro 2022, which saw the Lionesses memorably capture their first major tournament crown.

However, given the problematic kick-off times caused by the huge time zone difference between the UK and Australasia, broadcasters have been understandaly reluctant to pay a similar price, knowing that many viewews simply won't have the appetite to follow the games at such unsuitable hours.

British fans of women's football will hope that a resolution can be achieved soon as the Lionesses gear up for a World Cup which they are currently second favourites to win behind holders the USA, with Paddy Power.

England begin their World Cup 2023 campaign on 22 July at 9.30 against an as yet unknown opponent in Brisbane, Australia, before they face Denmark and China in their other group games.

They will face either Chile, Senegal or Haiti depending on the outcome of a playoff.

All three group stage matches will air during the morning hours in the UK, not the most traditional time for watching football in Britain, but with women's football and especially the Lionesses gaining popularity, fans are expected to go the extra mile to follow the tournament. They just may not do so to the extent that they did during last year's Euros, whose kick-offs times were a lot more paltable to a British audience.

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