A ban on the publication of digital images showing action from the World Cup football tournament in Germany has been lifted after a five-month battle between the press and FIFA.

The sports governing body has decided not to go ahead with controversial rules that would have banned news websites from publishing any images until long after the final whistle of each match. This would have meant websites not being able to publish any shots while the games were in progress.

Press covering the matches would have had to agree to these terms before granting photographers access to the event which starts on 9 June.

The agreement ? announced this morning – will ?benefit tens of millions of readers of newspaper websites worldwide?, according to Timothy Balding chief executive officer of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) which had campaigned to have the ban lifted (see AP website news 17 October 2005).

FIFA?s terms would have left internet and mobile phone content providers unable to publish pictures before the end of each match, unless they had already bought licences to show images.