HomeNewsFootballGlobal

Fifa plays down rights sell-off reports

World football’s governing body Fifa has claimed German media reports that president Gianni Infantino’s competition reform plan would include the sale of all of the body’s major commercial rights are based on outdated information.

A group of investors, believed to be led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, are said to be willing to spend $25bn (€21.9bn) on the effort over a 12-year cycle commencing in 2021. The existing Club World Cup would be expanded to a 24-team tournament, while a new national team competition would be created to effectively supersede Uefa’s Nations League, which has been formed to offer greater context to friendly matches.

The proposals are still being debated within Fifa’s inner circle, but a joint investigation between German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcaster WDR has now reported that the proposals go further than originally thought.

The two media outlets, citing documents that they have obtained, said a deal could also hand over complete commercial rights to the World Cup, including broadcast rights. Süddeutsche Zeitung and WDR identified the consortium that Fifa is said to be in talks with as British investment group SB Investment Advisers (SBIA), a subsidiary of SoftBank, and London-based investment company Centricus Partners.

In response to the reports, Fifa told SZ and WDR that the document was outdated and is only one of many hundreds that are circulating at its headquarters.

Most recent

Pay-television broadcaster BT Sport took advantage of Sky’s long-running concerns over wrestling body WWE’s OTT service to grab WWE rights in the UK and Ireland from its rival at a steep discount, SportBusiness Media understands.

As TikTok has grown into one of the world's most popular social-media apps during the past year, the short-form video-sharing platform has become an important tool for sports rights-holders to expand and engage their fanbases. 

Turkish agency Saran has negotiated a price reduction for rights to the English Premier League for the 2019-22 cycle, SportBusiness Media understands, the first time it has achieved this since acquiring the property at the turn of the decade.

Mola TV, the new entrant to Indonesia’s sports broadcasting market, is employing a novel strategy straddling pay-television, free-to-air and digital distribution channels to exploit the Premier League rights it has acquired for the upcoming 2019-22 cycle.