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The err of Live

By By TONY NGARE | Jul 5th 2012 | 3 min read
By By TONY NGARE | July 5th 2012

After the fallout that followed the allegations (and denials) about Uefa’s unbecoming conduct of doctoring live proceedings during Euro matches, I’m left wondering how much of ‘live’ action was feed to me after having to trade in my precious sleeping hours.

If you were one of the few fans who caught the second Euro 2012 semi-final between Italy and Germany, you were in for a football treat.

After two relatively tepid nil-nil draws (England/Italy, Portugal/Spain) that went the distance, the battle between Germany (one of the pre-tournament favourites) and Italy (perennial European powerhouse) was an exhilarating goal fest.

History ultimately prevailed, as once again the wily Italians booted the Germans out of a major international tournament, led by the ageless, timeless Andrea Pirlo.

The Germans also suffered another surprising blow, in the form of some unflattering editing.

Despite solid all around play by the hard working Germans, the Azzurri struck fast and hard on the counter. By the 36th minute, Italian striker Mario “ Super Mario” Balotelli had scored the second killer goal adding his tally for the night to two goals.

It was then that the camera cut to a weeping woman, one German fan, presumably overwhelmed by the hopeless hole her team now found themselves in. A single streak of tear rolled down her cheek in epic slow motion.

“A bit early for tears,” a commentator remarked of the premature if not understandable show of emotion with still an hour left to play.

The commentator was spot on.

 As a fan, it’s poor form to lose faith in your side so early into the game. Did German fans really have such little confidence in their team as the ‘live’ feed seemed to suggest?

documentary or stagecraft

Well, actually, German newspapers soon discovered, after her friends bombarded the woman with emails and texts wondering why she had given up so soon. Indeed, the fan had been moved to tears, just not during Balotelli’s shirtless goal celebration.

Instead, she’d been overwhelmed during the national anthem, nearly 40 minutes before the clip was broadcast as live by Uefa, the governing body that organises the Euro as well as the Champions League (essentially the Fifa of Europe), according to German broadcaster ARD (every broadcaster receives the same feed from Uefa, including Supersport, which aired the game here).

This wasn’t an isolated case. Footage from the Germany/Netherlands game showed Germany’s coach Joachim Löw playfully punching out a soccer ball from a ball boy’s hands was also later determined to have been pre-recorded.

Uefa first denied the charges, before conceding to overwhelming evidence, according to Associated Press.

It was shockingly naive. TV’s been fudging the distinction between documentary and stagecraft for a long time.  Your favourite news and sports shows always make sure to tape footage of their reporter nodding thoughtfully, and insert it under an interview subject’s voice.

This makes it look like the correspondents are listening closely, when they might be doodling or picking their noses.

For an organisation that has obstinately refused to introduce goal line technology despite a barrage of embarrassments, I find it obscene for the same people to trick the fans with pre-recorded content.

The few seconds Uefa used to squeeze in the pre-recorded incidences is the same time that a referee would require to determine whether the ball crossed the line or not.

When it comes to goal line technology, Uefa behaves like we will have to reach out for the cameras to determine every goal kick or throw in.

Even if the football body was to introduce goal line technology in  football, how many times would we need to  resort to the camera to determine goals?

Going by the number of controversial  incidences so far, the uses of goal line technology would be few and wide apart. Uefa needs to get a life!



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