With the FIFA Women's World Cup just 50 days away, the lack of preparation and promotion by sponsors, broadcasters, and key figures is quite concerning.
With the ongoing dispute around broadcasting rights across Europe and the lack of promotion and noise in Ireland, you really have to question, is this going to be a missed opportunity. Recently on the radio there was a discussion about the lack of promotion of Ireland heading to the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time in history. The absence of billboards, newspaper headlines, and television promotions has left fans wondering why the build-up for this historic moment is lagging behind. In a time when women's sports, and in particular women's football, is gaining increased recognition and support, it is essential to give this Irish team the spotlight they deserve.
A Disparity in Broadcast Rights:
The ongoing dispute between FIFA and TV broadcasters over the rights for the Women's World Cup has cast a shadow over the tournament. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has threatened not to broadcast the competition in five European countries unless TV companies improve their rights offers. European broadcasters have offered significantly less for the women's rights compared to the men's World Cup, indicating a notable discrepancy in investment and support.
Renowned footballer Ian Wright recently voiced his disappointment over the ongoing dispute between FIFA and TV broadcasters. In his podcast, Wrighty's House, he emphasised the need for a resolution, stating that such a situation would never occur in the men's game. He pointed out the missed opportunities for the players, both in terms of sponsorships and exposure. With just six weeks remaining until the tournament begins, the lack of clarity regarding the main broadcaster for the Women's World Cup across Europe is disheartening, further exacerbating the urgency for a resolution.
Ireland's Historic Moment:
From an Irish perspective, the situation is equally alarming. For the first time in history, Ireland has qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup, a milestone achievement that deserves significant attention. However, the lack of noise and hype surrounding this momentous occasion is concerning. The competition is merely 50 days away, yet the absence of promotional content on billboards, in newspapers, and on digital platforms is glaring. The comparison to the build-up for the Men's Rugby World Cup happening in September only emphasises the disparity. The success of women's football in Ireland should be celebrated and supported with equal enthusiasm. What are we waiting for?
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) May 31, 2023
Reflecting on the Women's Euros last summer, where England's national team received extensive support and promotion, it becomes evident that the lack of preparations for the Women's World Cup in Ireland is a missed opportunity. The impact of the Euros last summer has had a long-lasting effect on women's football in the UK -just look at the record stadiums being filled out.
London lights up for the @Lionesses 🏴
Tower Bridge. Battersea Power Station. The nation's capital throws its support behind the England Women ahead of #WEURO2022.
Watch the tournament LIVE on #OptusSport, starting this Thursday, July 7th. pic.twitter.com/0yZzbugOlx
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) July 5, 2022
The likes of Louise Quinn, Aine O'Gorman, Megan Connolly, Denise O'Sullivan, and Katie McCabe should be featured on billboards and buildings and more. We need to inspire future generations and showcasing the talent of our sportswomen in this country. ion. The absence of such initiatives raises concerns about the commitment to women's sports and the potential long-term impact on the growth of women's football in Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland have qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time in history. This is a unique opportunity to change the perception of women in sport in Ireland for years to come. The magnitude of this tournament can be seen in the viewership numbers alone. In 2019, 1.12 billion people tuned in to watch the FIFA Women's World Cup. This has GLOBAL interest.
Reflecting on past sporting events, such as Italia '90 - many Irish people still cherish the memories of the Ireland Men's team and the scenes that were created across the country. These moments had a lasting impact and helped popularise football, making it a sport for people from all classes. The FIFA Women's World Cuphas the power to create similar memories and leave a long lasting impact on women's sport and physical activity as a whole.
What are we waiting for? It's no good building hype with just a few weeks to go. That's not how it works. That certainly wouldn't happen in the men's game.