We are fortunate in Ireland that the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be broadcast in its entirety on RTÉ but the rights fees paid by broadcasters around the world have fallen substantially short of FIFA estimates.

A weekend report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that the payment made by the BBC and ITV in Britain is coming in at around €10.5 million, as part of a Eurovision deal that RTÉ is also a part of.

For the Men’s World Cup Finals in Qatar in December of last year, the figure for British coverage was ten times that.

The value is determined by the viewing figures.

This is the first time that the rights have been sold separately and there was always going to be a lesser amount with the games taking place outside of prime time viewing in the key European and United States markets.

There is also that fact of it taking place in the summer when advertising rates are substantially lower than in the winter.

Finally, there is still the delta that needs to be overcome with the watching public where estimates are that the numbers tuning in for the Women’s tournament will be around 50 percent of what they would have been for the Men’s.

We have to remember that this is a long term journey towards parity of esteem, interest and financial return.

The prize money on offer for teams competing in Australia and New Zealand is one-quarter what it was for the Men in Qatar, but we can take heart that it has trebled since the last tournament in 2019 and FIFA has set an objective that the prize money will be equal between the Men’s tournament of 2026 and the Women’s of 2027.

The International Cricket Council set itself a target in 2017, which we covered on sport for business, that prize money would be equal within 15 years. Last week that promise was brought forward with all International Men’s and Women’s tournaments now carrying the same levels of prize money.

The principles of equality are there now. The next stage to true equality will be to continue raising the levels of public interest so that the commercial revenues coming into each sport can be closer. Another positive is that FOX TV in the United States which has the rights has sold out its TV advertising inventory, an sure indicator of commercial interest.

It is not only an issue for football but for society as a whole and at least the pace of change is continuing to accelerate. What we need now is a brilliant tournament in Australia to reward the faithful and convince the remaining sceptics.