And in a separate agreement, RTÉ has also secured broadcast rights in the Republic of Ireland for the 2020 finals, which will take place in 13 cities across Europe including Dublin.
Ryle Nugent, Group Head of Sport at RTÉ, confirmed the new deal in a statement.
“Today’s announcements ensure that all Republic of Ireland European qualifiers, both home and away, for the Fifa World Cup of 2018, the Uefa Euro 2020 finals and the Fifa World Cup 2022 will be available, free to air, for Irish audiences on RTÉ.
“In addition, the three finals tournaments themselves, which always provide some of the biggest and most iconic moments in sport, will be available to the Irish public. At a time of significant and increased competition in the market place to secure these rights on all platforms is a very positive step.”
RTÉ already holds the rights to the European qualifiers and finals for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Meanwhile, Burnley’s Stephen Ward is certain Ireland can reach next year’s tournament through the automatic route but has warned they must avoid becoming another scalp for Georgia on Saturday week.
It was at this stage of the last campaign for Euro 2016 that Scotland’s lead over Ireland in the pool began to crumble off a shock defeat in Tbilisi.
Ward and his Ireland team head to Georgia next week joint-top of the table alongside Serbia and within four games of securing a direct passage to Russia.
While Georgia are second-bottom in the table, they have scored in every home match during this campaign, including against Serbia and Austria, and left Dublin 12 months ago fuming at losing to Seamus Colemen’s second-half winner.
Ward was part of the Irish side that three years ago were fortunate to come away from the Boris Paichadze Stadium with full points due to Aiden McGeady’s last-gasp goal and is predicting an equally tricky assignment in this campaign.
However, the 32-year-old is confident Ireland will finish top of a World Cup qualifying group for the first time ever, thereby avoiding the lottery of a play-off.
“This is a great opportunity for us to win the group,” said the defender.
“With the winning mentality of the manager and his assistant Roy Keane, they want us to qualify top of the group.
“If we can keep up our home form and nick some points away I think we’ll have a fantastic chance of winning the group. That four-point gap over Austria and Wales is something we’ve worked very hard to gain for ourselves.
“We’ve got Serbia coming to our place and it’s a ground we’ve been successful in against teams since Martin and Roy came in.”
Before enjoying home comforts on Tuesday week in the top-of-the-table clash, the League of Ireland graduate is eyeing three points in Georgia. The trip is logistically challenging and Ward doesn’t want to spend the five-hour flight home licking his wounds.
“It’s a long journey, with a different climate and time difference,” he noted. “We’re under no illusions about the task.”