FIFA notes with disappointment the decision of the European Court of Justice on Thursday 18 July.
In regard to free-to-air television coverage of the FIFA World Cup™, FIFA has a strict policy to make at least 22 matches available on that basis. This includes all home team matches, the opening match, semi-finals and the final of the FIFA World Cup™.
Furthermore, the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage exceeded and will vastly exceed this allocation in Europe. In many cases in 2010, all 64 World Cup matches were made available via free-to-air television in Europe.
FIFA’s objection to the original ruling was based on the following:
· FIFA’s established policies, as detailed above, already act as a powerful safeguard for access to matches of national importance.
· The media landscape and the way that consumers access coverage of sports change constantly and require less restrictive regulation.
· The concept of enforcing free-to-air coverage of all 64 matches at the FIFA World Cup™ distorts the media market, negatively impacting FIFA’s ability to reach football fans with new services. This can particularly affect younger fans who consume media in a variety of ways beyond “traditional” TV.
· Crucially, such market distortion could also impact on FIFA’s ability to generate funds from the FIFA World Cup™ which it redistributes through the entire pyramid of football worldwide - investing in the global development of the game, supporting FIFA’s 209 Member Associations, staging its diverse and vital range of tournaments and supporting humanitarian projects.