Double fault! Wimbledon men’s singles final and World Cup final to clash on TV
PUBLISHED: 16:53 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:01 04 July 2018
For the first time, the men’s finals at Wimbledon clashes with the World Cup final - while Andy Murray has ruled himself out of the running, England still have a chance of making it all the way and most sports fans would be interested in watching both. Cue clash confusion.
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The Wimbledon men’s singles finals is scheduled to take place on the same day, two hours apart: the Wimbledon men’s singles final will start on July 15 at 2pm, the World Cup final will kick off at 4pm but coverage is expected to begin hours beforehand.
And if that’s not bad enough, England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden will clash with the middle Saturday at Wimbledon. Oh dear.
Bosses at the tennis tournament say they were surprised at Fifa’s decision to schedule the World Cup to clash with the men’s final and said they had no plans to screen the football anywhere in the grounds.
Mick Desmond, commercial and media director at the AELTC (the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club), said there were also no plans to change the Wimbledon timetable, and discussions had been held with Fifa.
“It’s slightly surprising Fifa had the idea of kick-off at four o’clock. It’s not something they’ve done in the past, but that’s the decision. You know, our tournament (final) always starts at two o’clock - we’ll start at two o’clock,” he said.
“There was dialogue (between Wimbledon and 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.”
He said if England get to the final, “then it’s going to be a great sporting Sunday”.
A Fifa spokesman said: “We got the question a long time ago and we answered the question a long time ago. The kick-off times for the Fifa World Cup were set in co-operation with a range of stakeholders and taking into account a number of aspects such as the global broadcast market and feasibility for the fans - both in terms of attending the matches and reaching a wide TV audience.
“Following those discussions, it was decided on December 3 2015 that the 2018 Fifa World Cup final match will take place at 6pm (Moscow time). I understand now people are waking up [to the clash], but the decision was already made.”
The finals clash poses problems for fans of both sports, with the average length for a men’s Wimbledon final since 2002 coming in at two hours and 53 minutes. Based on this, football fans would miss the entire first half of the World Cup final.
The longest ever final is recorded as the match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 2008, which lasted four hours and 48 minutes. There have only been two men’s finals that have lasted less than two hours - the gap between the the two start times.
The Wimbledon final and the World Cup final will both be broadcast on the BBC, and the football will also be on ITV. A spokeswoman for the BBC said a decision on the scheduling for the finals on July 15 had not yet been made.