RTE and TG4 to show all 52 matches in FIFA Women's World Cup
RTE and TG4 will show all 52 matches in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which kicks off in France this Friday, June 7.
In what will be a televisual first for the Irish broadcasters, they will feature every single game live with free-to-air coverage of the forthcoming showdown in a bid to raise the profile of women’s soccer in the mainstream media.
Kicking off its coverage with the opening ceremony this weekend and then the meeting of tournament hosts France against Korea, RTE will also have a dedicated panel of expert commentators giving their verdict on the games.
The coverage is part of the station’s commitment to the 20x20 initiative, which was created by Along Came a Spider and is backed by the Federation of Irish Sport.
Aimed at creating a cultural shift in the perception of women and young girls in sport, the campaign hopes to see 20pc more media coverage of female-led sporting events with 20pc more attendance at women’s games.
RTE sports presenter Jacqui Hurley, who will present the coverage, hailed the move and described it as a “day I thought I would never see” while RTE Group Head of Sport Declan McBennett said it was a game-changer in terms of women’s soccer.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Irish public to engaged with women’s soccer in a way that they haven’t done before,” he said.
He said as a father of a nine-year-old daughter himself, it was vitally important to increase the coverage of major female-led tournaments
“We are very much looking forward to the big kick-off this weekend and to showcasing the very best of women’s sport in one of the year’s biggest global events,” he said.
Ireland soccer star Stephanie Roche will be among those commentating on the games for RTE but she admits it may be an uphill battle drumming up support for the women’s soccer tournament.
“Even now at this stage, I get people who are good friends of mine saying, ‘It’s not good’ and it’s hard for me,” she told independent.ie.
“There are a lot of men out there who don’t want to watch it and you‘re not going to change their opinion and I think it’s a generational thing. I think they’ve heard that their whole lives. So hopefully this might be one step towards changing people’s opinions.
“I think it’s brilliant that they’re showing it and and I think the 20X20 campaign has a lot to thank for it. “This is huge it’s really going to try and change people’s attitudes towards women in sport and the more people that can see it on TV, the more it’s going to become the norm and as a female player, that’s something you want to see.”
RTE 2 and RTE player will broadcaster 23 matches including three of the quarter finals while TG4 will broadcaster 29 matches in total.