The FIFA World Cup final is just 10 days away. And So is the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final. For sports fans, July 15, 2018 could be an exciting day with two of the biggest sporting events set to take place on the same day. But for the organisers and the broadcasters, the decision to hold the two events so close to each other is proving to be a headache. According to a report by The Guardian, Wimbledon bosses expected FIFA to reschedule the World Cup final timings to avoid a clash with the Wimbledon final.
Speaking to the reporters, Mick Desmond, commercial and media director at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), said, “It’s slightly surprising Fifa had the idea of kick-off at four o’clock. It’s not something they’ve done in the past, but that’s the decision. You know, our tournament (final) always starts at two o’clock – we’ll start at two o’clock.”
Desmond further added that FIFA decided to go ahead with the timings in spite of the discussions between the two bodies. “There was dialogue (between Wimbledon and Fifa) and there was a dialogue between the broadcasters. I think broadcasters who’ve got both sets of rights were concerned. At the end of the day, Fifa decided to do that,” he said.
In response to the question regarding the decision on the timings, a FIFA spokesperson told the newspaper that it was decided on the basis of multiple inputs. “We got the question a long time ago and we answered the question a long time ago. The kick-off times for the Fifa World Cup were set in co-operation with a range of stakeholders and taking into account a number of aspects such as the global broadcast market and feasibility for the fans – both in terms of attending the matches and reaching a wide TV audience,” he said.
He further added: “Following those discussions, it was decided on December 3, 2015, that the 2018 Fifa World Cup final match will take place at 6pm (Moscow time). I understand now people are waking up (to the clash), but the decision was already made.”
The fans of both the sports will be having a hard choice to pick up from as, according to the report, the average length of a Wimbledon final has been two hours and 53 minutes since 2002. With the two matches taking place on the same day, the fans of both the sports will miss the entire first half of the football World Cup final, in case they decide to stick with the Men’s Singles Wimbledon final.