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Japan facing WWC blackout
As the FIFA Women's World Cup draws nearer, a looming television blackout threatens Japanese soccer enthusiasts, provoking concerns over a significant "lost chance" in the event that a broadcasting accord isn't reached in time.
Japan, the triumphant nation in the 2011 tournament and a finalist again in 2015, finds its broadcasting corporations yet to finalise an agreement to air the games, even as the championship in Australia and New Zealand is set to commence on July 20.
For the first time ever, the TV rights for the Women's World Cup are being traded separately from the men's event. While FIFA recently reached a deal with the European Broadcasting Union, thus avoiding a contentious blackout in the European 'Big Five', Japan remains one of the last significant nations yet to conclude a similar agreement. This has caused apprehension amongst fans, who fear the impact this could have on the stature of women's soccer domestically.
Reggae Girlz let down by the Jamaican FA
Manchester City striker, Khadija Shaw, has publicly addressed the dissatisfaction felt by several elite players with the Jamaican Football Federation's (JFF) approach towards the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
The JFF's lack of proper planning and insufficient funding has disrupted the team, states an open letter signed by key members of the Reggae Girlz lineup and shared on social media platforms.
Despite numerous dialogues between the players, coaching staff, and the JFF regarding topics as varied as nutrition, planning, communications, and pay, no significant actions have been taken. This, despite the JFF's assurances of prompt resolution of raised concerns.
The letter reads, “Unfortunately that time has expired and once again our questions go unanswered and our concerns unresolved”.
It further emphasises the significant disadvantage the team faces due to missing several official FIFA friendlies, which could undoubtedly impact their performance in the World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
In response, the JFF expressed their commitment to resolving these issues, asserting that they are treating the team's concerns with the seriousness they deserve.
JFF President Michael Ricketts commented, “We want to make sure we provide as much as we can for the girls, who we certainly think will do very well at the World Cup”.
Aussies could get public holiday if Matildas go all the way
Australia's Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, anticipates a rush among state Premiers to announce a public holiday if the Matildas clinch the World Cup victory on home turf.
This subject emerged towards the end of 2022 when the Socceroos made it to the knockout stages of the FIFA 2022 Men's World Cup, following a thrilling win over Denmark. At the time, Albanese stated that there was insufficient time to plan a public holiday. However, now, as he contemplates the potential of a similar celebration if the Matildas secure the title, the previous reasoning might not hold water.
An Australian Prime Minister, marking a global sports victory with a public holiday wouldn't be a first. Post Australia's monumental Americas Cup triumph in 1983, the then-Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, famously proclaimed, "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum!".
The ball is now in the Matildas' court...