FIFA more or less rigged the Women’s World Cup 2015
FIFA more or less rigged the Women’s World Cup bracket to ensure healthy ticket sales, TV ratings
They’d never be that dumb, right? But FIFA sure has no problem doing it in the Women’s World Cup, where making sure the stadiums are filled takes precedence over ensuring any sort of compelling competition.
As pointed out Thursday by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, Germany and France — the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 women’s teams — will meet in the quarterfinals should they win their round-of-16 games, as expected, at this year’s Women’s World Cup in Canada. It’s all because — unlike at the men’s World Cup, where the seeded teams are randomly dispersed into groups — the seeded teams at the women’s World Cup are assigned to groups before the draw. By placing Germany in Group B and France in Group F, FIFA ensured a likely meeting in the quarterfinals.
When asked why FIFA would do that, a spokesperson told Wahl that it’s all about avoiding the bad optics of empty stadiums (more on that in a minute) and low television ratings.
Basically, FIFA feels like it needs to put certain teams in certain cities to sell tickets and in certain time zones to help with TV ratings back home.
“Similar to previous draws for FIFA Women’s World Cups like Germany in 2011, teams are seeded … and allocated into specific groups for ticketing and promotion reasons,” the FIFA spokesperson replied. “Whilst the interest in the FIFA Women’s World Cup has grown significantly over the last years, the success and great interest from the public in the tournament in Germany in 2011 can’t be compared to the Brazil [men’s] World Cup. Filling the stadia is a FIFA and host association key objective. The allocation of teams to venues, the ticketing and promotion plan and the ticket price strategy are among the key factors for the overall success of the event.”
Wahl also asked why FIFA couldn’t randomly determine where the group winners were placed in the knockout-round bracket instead of pre-determining their landing spots. The spokesperson didn’t provide an answer.
If FIFA wanted to help ensure the advancement of Canada and the United States — who obviously are the tournament’s biggest draws, both in terms of ticket sales and television ratings — they did a great job. As Wahl points out, they are the only two seeded teams who would avoid having to play another seeded team until the semifinals.
As Stephen Wade of the Associated Press points out, this is nothing new for FIFA at the Women’s World.
Top-ranked Germany took on No. 3 France in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup on Friday, but should that match have even taken place? Some are saying no, including France’s Camille Abily, who was on the losing end of the nail-biting penalty kick shootout that sent France home.
Her problem wasn’t having to face Germany in the tournament, but the timing. The European rivals met in the quarterfinals because of what she called an unfair draw. This left her livid with FIFA, the tournament’s organizer.
“FIFA did not conduct a real draw,” she told France’s L’Equipe (via Deadspin) after the match. “This is not to blame them [for the loss], but why don’t we do [the draw] like the boys? … At some point they have to stop taking us for idiots.”
Whether you were rooting for France or not, Abily makes a good point. There was something fishy about the Women’s World Cup draw this year.
The Post’s Matt Bonesteel called it “more or less rigged.”
Source courtesy of: washingtonpost.com/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/12/fifa-more-or-less-rigged-the-womens-world-cup-bracket-to-ensure-healthy-ticket-sales-tv-ratings/