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Matildas' matches included in Australian FTA priority list for women's games

Australia's women's soccer games gain priority on Free-to-Air broadcasting list

Australia has taken a significant step towards ensuring that fans can catch their national women's soccer team, the Matildas, in action on free-to-air (FTA) television. In a recent development, future FIFA Women's World Cup games featuring the Matildas have been included in the country's anti-siphoning list, a move aimed at prioritizing FTA broadcasters' access to sports property rights before pay-TV networks.

This amendment to the anti-siphoning list encompasses every FIFA Women's World Cup match involving the Matildas, as well as the World Cup finals and home qualification games for both men's and women's tournaments that involve Australia. The motivation behind this change is to ensure that Australians, regardless of their location or income, have the opportunity to enjoy live and free coverage of these sporting events.

The Matildas' remarkable performance in this year's World Cup ignited a nationwide fervor, with their semifinal clash against England becoming the most-watched TV broadcast since the introduction of the OzTam measurement system in 2001. This surge in viewership not only reflects the team's success but also underscores the growing popularity of women's soccer in Australia.

Michelle Rowland, Australia's Minister for Communications, emphasized the importance of making these events accessible to all Australians. She stated, "Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of these events, no matter where they live or what they earn." The government's ongoing review of the anti-siphoning list seeks to modernize it by incorporating online services and preventing events from slipping behind paywalls. Additionally, the review aims to expand the inclusion of women's sports and parasports events, recognizing their growing significance and appeal.

These updates to the anti-siphoning list have emerged just ahead of FIFA's deadline for Australian broadcasters to bid for the rights to host the 2026 Men's World Cup and the 2027 Women's World Cup. This move not only guarantees broader access to women's soccer but also demonstrates Australia's commitment to promoting gender equality in sports by giving women's events the prominence they deserve on the national stage.

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