Fifa snubs England with 3D World Cup plans

Niclas Ericson - "we chose key matches"
Niclas Ericson - "we chose key matches"

Sony and Fifa unveiled their 3D plans for this summer's football World Cup and immediately had to justify the decision not to show any of England's group games.

Fifa announced a partnership with Sony to film the World Cup in 3D and sell broadcast rights at the end of last year, but the list of 'carefully chosen' matches does not include any of England's group matches, meaning that only qualification to the later rounds will see the nation feature in 3D.

Fifa's director of TV, Niclas Ericson, conceded that England's enticing game against the USA was one of the World Cup's 'hot' matches, but blamed logistics and the need to show 'key' matches.

To rub salt into the wound, Fifa revealed that it was not planning on trying to find a broadcaster of the live 3D footage in the UK beyond selected cinemas, meaning that Sky's 3D channel will not be screening the footage.

Key matches?

"You might be curious to know why [sic] the selection criteria," said Ericson at the European launch.

"It is a very difficult one but the main issue was that we wanted to have a good spread of the matches in terms of matchdays covered.

"We also wanted to make sure that the key games would be in this production schedule such as the opening, the final stage matches and, of course, the final in Soccer City.

"There were a lot of other reasons such as production reasons and logistics and space.

"Some of you here I'm sure will wonder why…England versus USA is not being used.

"It's a very hot match on June 12 and [it] is not possible to do it because of the various constraints that we have.

"But we feel you should not despair. England will make it through the final rounds and then we will show that."

What about a broadcaster?

Some will point to the fact that no less than three of Brazil's group games are being shown, and two of Spain's, Argentina's, Germany's, Holland's, and Nigeria's, although hosts South Africa are only featured once.

As co-rights-holders, ITV and the BBC will be the only broadcasters to show the World Cup matches, and neither has suggested any plans for a 3D channel.

Sky 3D is already beginning to make it into UK homes, but those annoyed that the matches will not be screened in 3D can at least rest assured that Fifa had decided not to show any England group games anyway.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.