World soccer governing body FIFA will stream African qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup live and free on its official website and YouTube channel.
It follows the organisation’s request for an ‘irrevocable mandate’ to market the media rights for all 54 Confederation of African Football (CAF) associations qualifying fixtures, effectively centralising them.
With the CAF members having agreed to hand over control, FIFA is now free to broadcast games to viewers across the globe, starting with the first-round matches featuring 28 teams which get underway from 4th September.
The governing body added it would announce via its website which games would be available to stream.
In a statement, FIFA said: ‘Bringing this exciting action to a global audience for the first time underscores FIFA’s ongoing digital transformation and its ongoing efforts to support football development in Africa.’
The decision comes amid a period of political unrest for CAF, which saw FIFA send in its general secretary Fatma Samoura to take over the running of the regional soccer confederation for an initial six months after the move was put forward by CAF President Ahmad Ahamd.
The 28 teams involved in the first round of games will play each other over two legs home and away. The 14 winners will then advance to the qualifying group stages to join the continent’s 26 ranked teams.