The UK public service broadcaster has come under fire for choosing not to broadcast the Qatar 2022 World Cup opening ceremony on its main coverage programme.
The BBC relegated coverage of the opening ceremony on Sunday to its second-tier broadcasts, including its “red button” service, its iPlayer online app and its sports website.
However, viewers tuning in to its main coverage on BBC One were unable to see the spectacular inclusion theme from Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, missing out on highlights such as a performance by BTS star Jungkook and Qatari singer Fahad. al-Kubaisi.
When Russia hosted the World Cup in 2018, it had already annexed Crimea and occupied eastern Ukraine. At the time there was no criticism of it from the BBC and the opening ceremony was shown in its entirety. Yet the BBC chose today to sanctimoniously lecture us. Shameful.
— Muhammad Jalal (@jalalayn) November 20, 2022
Morgan Freeman, who narrated the ceremony, appeared at the stadium to shake hands with a FIFA World Cup ambassador who suffered from a rare spinal disorder in an image meant to represent inclusion in a country that has faced criticism. because of his human rights record.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 20, 2022
BBC One had been broadcasting the Chelsea-Tottenham match in the Women’s Super League, which ended after the opening ceremony began. The BBC’s social media team also posted a four minute instagram video around the same time, recalling the 1982 Gay Games, organized by former Olympians to highlight homophobia in sport.
When the channel switched to broadcasting its show from Qatar, presenters Gary Lineker, Alex Scott and Alex Shearer discussed the allegations leveled against the host country.
“It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and not even a ball has been kicked,” Lineker, a former England soccer captain, said in his opening monologue.
“Since FIFA chose Qatar in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted the biggest soccer competition has faced big questions. From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums where many lost their lives.
— 𝐹𝒶𝓉𝒾𝓂𝒶 𝐵𝒶𝓇𝓀𝒶𝓉𝓊𝓁𝓁𝒶 (@FatimaBarkatula) November 20, 2022
“Homosexuality is illegal here, women’s rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight. Also the decision six years ago to change the World Cup from summer to winter.
“With that backdrop, there is a tournament to be played, one that will be seen and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football, say FIFA, well we will, at least for a couple of minutes.”
Surprised to find out that in the UK the BBC decided not to broadcast the opening ceremony of the first World Cup in the Arab world? There were some amazing moments, like this one 👇🏽 #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/90NNykYn0V
—Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) November 20, 2022
In the 12 years since it was awarded the right to host the first World Cup in the Middle East, Qatar has reformed its labor laws, including abolishing the much-criticized kafala system and the abused exit permit system. unscrupulous employers. Qatar has also introduced a minimum wage and new regulations on working in hot conditions as part of labor reforms.
In a report released this month, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Qatar had made progress on its labor reforms, improving the working and living conditions of hundreds of thousands of workers, but said implementation challenges remained. .
World Cup organizers say all fans, regardless of sexual orientation, are welcome in Qatar.
In Qatar’s conservative society, public displays of affection are frowned upon, not just between LGBTQ couples.
A BBC spokesperson told Al Jazeera: “Full World Cup preparation and coverage has been available across the BBC, including the opening ceremony on iPlayer.”
BBC presenter Gary Lineker hit back at the critics, saying it was all a matter of timing and logistics, tweeting: “It was shown live in its entirety on @BBCiPlayer, BBC Sport website and red button. The timing of the opening ceremony was moved to an earlier date very recently and the WSL has already confirmed the @bbcone. If you wanted to see it, you could.”
The opening match and ceremony of the World Cup were moved up a day from FIFA’s original plan, with the move being announced more than three months ago, in August.