Wimbledon hold Fifa talks over World Cup final TV clash: Tennis bosses baffled at decision


WIMBLEDON have decided not to move the men’s singles final despite a clash with the World Cup final.

On Sunday July 15, the tennis is due to start at 2pm - 2.10pm once the players have walked out and warmed up - while the football is set for a 4pm kick-off UK time.

Only two of the last 20 men’s singles finals at Wimbledon have been short enough to avoid a clash between the two showpiece events, both of which must by law be shown live on terrestrial in the UK.

And Wimbledon authorities are understood to have spoken to Fifa about the decision to kick the game off at 4pm.

But All England Club commercial director Mick Desmond said: “It’s slightly surprising that Fifa had the idea of kick-off at four o’clock. It's not something they’ve done in the past.

“You know, our tournament always starts at two o’clock, we’ll start at two o’clock.

“There was dialogue [with Fifa] and there was dialogue between the broadcasters.

“I think broadcasters who’ve got both sets of rights were concerned.

“At the end of the day, Fifa decided to do that.”

The All England Club have also confirmed that the World Cup final will not be shown in any of the public areas in SW19, even if England make it all the way.

The BBC meanwhile have confirmed that the Wimbledon final, usually the focus of their programming on the day, will begin on BBC One but will switch to BBC Two when their coverage of the World Cup final starts at 3pm.

The World Cup final kick-off time was set more than two years ago and while Wimbledon authorities foresaw the clash, they gave it little thought.

Will Roger Federer be playing a Wimbledon final in front of empty seats if there is a clash?

“I can honestly say we had a shot clock on it [a discussion about moving the final] and I am not sure it went up to 25 seconds,” Richard Lewis, the chief executive of the All England Club, told The Times.

“We just said, ‘Our final is at two o’clock, let’s just stick with it. That’s our tradition, let’s go with it.’

Otherwise you start saying, ‘Well, who else do we move for? World athletics or something?’

“It has not been a discussion other than, ‘We are two o’clock and that’s it.’”

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