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Rai extends historic ties with Italian Football Federation

Valentina Giacinti of Italy controls the ball under pressure from Dominique Bloodworth of the Netherlands during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Quarter Final (by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has extended its long-running rights deal with public-service broadcaster Rai through to 2022.

The agreement, which covers all national team games, furthers an association that dates back to 1928 when former public-service radio broadcaster EIAR transmitted a game held in Rome between Italy and Hungary.

Since this time, Rai has broadcast 20 editions of the Fifa World Cup and 15 Uefa European Championships, with the two parties using the announcement of the new deal to highlight the success of this summer’s Women’s World Cup.

Italy qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time since 1999 and advanced to the quarter finals before being defeated 2-0 by the Netherlands. The match on June 29 drew an average of 5.2 million viewers for a 37.9 per cent share, peaking at 5.36 million (40.26-per-cent share).

Commenting on the strong bond between the Italian national team and Rai, the broadcaster’s managing director, Fabrizio Salini, said: “In these 90 years the story of the national team has been linked to that of Rai through the values ​​of loyalty and inclusion. The national team’s shirt is also that of Rai.

“We are very happy and proud to have brought the women’s national team to Rai 1, a natural and obligatory choice. The women’s national team deserved that stage. We have overcome prejudices.”