FIFA U-turn on World Cup newspapers net pics ban

Dominic Ponsford

World football governing body FIFA has backed down after what had become a heated row with newspapers worldwide over publication of World Cup pictures on websites.

Earlier this month the World Association of Newspapers threatened legal action against FIFA and accused it of turning its back on the “news media which give life, on a daily basis, to football".

The dispute centred on the rights of newspapers to publish pictures from games on their websites. Fifa had insisted that no photos be published on websites until after the final whistle of matches and limited the number of web published photos to five per match half and two for extra time, including penalty shoot-outs.

FIFA and WAN announced today that they had reached agreement to lift all restrictions on the digital publication of photographs from the World Cup.

The agreement came after a private meeting between the FIFA President, Joseph Blatter, and WAN chief executive Timothy Balding.

Balding said: "WAN and the world press community warmly welcome this wise and enlightened decision by Mr Blatter, which will benefit tens of millions of readers of newspaper web sites world-wide.

"In eliminating limits on the number of pictures that can be posted on internet sites and in permitting their free publication during the course of World Cup matches, FIFA is upholding the traditional values of the free press and preserving the full free flow of information to the media and their audiences.

“We acknowledge that this has not been an easy decision for FIFA to take, which is all the more reason for us to be delighted that a common position has now been found".

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