FIFA Backs Down On World Cup Media Restrictions

 In Paris today the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) announced an agreement with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the group governing World Cup Soccer, to lift all restrictions on digital (Web) publication of news photographs shot during the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany soccer matches.

Matches begin in major German cities on June 9, and media covering the matches will do so without having to observe any of FIFA’s proposed restrictions. FIFA backed down today on the restrictions that were aimed at benefiting certain Web sites and cellular phone sports services that have agreements with FIFA to distribute content.

FIFA’s proposals restricted mainstream media organizations on the number of pictures they could publish online, and how long after the matches they had to wait to distribute the pictures, and mainstream media organizations and wire services would have had to agree to those terms in order to get press credentials to cover the events.

WAN’s press release today said they were also representing Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, Reuters, Getty Images, the German picture agency DPA, and the European agency EPA in their discussions with FIFA’s president. WAN’s membership represents 18,000 newspapers from 102 countries in addition to 11 news agencies and nine regional and worldwide press groups.