BBC relegates World Cup opening ceremony to on-line protection

Monday November 21, 2022

Qatar’s spectacular opening ceremony would have been missed by many BBC viewers [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

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The UK’s public service broadcaster has been criticised for selecting to not air the Qatar World Cup 2022 opening ceremony on its most important protection programme.

The BBC relegated protection of the opening ceremony on Sunday to its second-tier streams, together with its “red button” service, its on-line iPlayer app and its sports activities web site.

Viewers tuning in to its flagship protection on BBC One, nevertheless, weren’t in a position to watch the inclusivity-themed spectacular from the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, and missed highlights similar to a efficiency by BTS star Jungkook and Qatari singer Fahad al-Kubaisi.

Morgan Freeman, who narrated the ceremony, appeared within the stadium to shake palms with a FIFA World Cup ambassador affected by a uncommon spinal dysfunction in a picture meant to signify inclusion in a rustic that has been dealing with criticism over its human rights file.

BBC One had been airing the Chelsea-Tottenham match within the Ladies’s Tremendous League, which completed after the opening ceremony had begun. The BBC’s social media staff additionally put out a four-minute Instagram video at about the identical time, recalling the 1982 Homosexual Video games, organised by former Olympians to focus on homophobia in sport.

When the channel switched to its programme broadcast from Qatar, hosts Gary Lineker, Alex Scott and Alex Shearer mentioned the allegations levelled in opposition to the host nation.

“It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked,” mentioned Lineker, a former England soccer captain, in his opening monologue.

“Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football’s greatest competition has faced some 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.”

“Homosexuality is illegal here, women’s rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight. Also the decision six years ago to switch the World Cup from summer to winter.

“Against that backdrop there’s a tournament to be played, one that will be watched and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football say FIFA, well, we will, for a couple of minutes at least.”

Within the 12 years because it was awarded the fitting to host the primary World Cup within the Center East, Qatar has reformed its labour legal guidelines, together with abolishing the much-criticised kafala system and the exit allow system, which had been abused by unscrupulous employers. Qatar has additionally launched a minimal wage and new rules on working in warmth as a part of labour reforms.

In a report launched this month, the Worldwide Labour Group (ILO) mentioned Qatar had made progress in its labour reforms — enhancing the working and dwelling circumstances for lots of of 1000’s of staff — however mentioned challenges in implementation remained.

World Cup organisers say that every one followers, regardless of their sexual orientation, are welcome in Qatar.

In Qatar’s conservative society, public shows of affection are frowned upon, not simply these between LGBTQ {couples}.

A BBC spokesperson advised Al Jazeera that: “Full build-up and coverage of the World Cup has been available across the BBC, including the opening ceremony on iPlayer.”

BBC host Gary Lineker fired again at 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 changed to an earlier time very recently and WSL was already confirmed on @bbcone. If you wanted to watch it, you could.”

The World Cup’s opening match and ceremony had been introduced ahead by a day from FIFA’s unique plan, with the transfer introduced greater than three months in the past, in August.

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