Don’t trust UEFA

4 07 2012

 A lot of us watching the semi final between Germany and Italy will have felt for the poor German fan who was moved to tears after Balotelli struck his second goal in the 36th minute of the game.

No sooner had the mental one scored his screamer, ripped off his jersey and struck that pose when the footage cut away to a female fan with the German flag painted on her cheek and a single tear rolling away from an emotional eye.

Except it was a little bit of a lie on the part of European football’s governing body…

A lot of commentators mentioned how it was “Too early for tears”. And it was, there was an awful lot of football left to play at that point. The commentators knew it, the players knew it and the seemingly overwrought fan in the stands knew it too.

The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung talked to the tearful woman: Her name was Andrea, she came from Dusseldorf, and she was surprised when she started getting texts from friends asking why she’d started crying with nearly an hour of play remaining.

Simple answer: she hadn’t.

Instead, Andrea said, she had been overcome with emotion during the playing of the national anthems, before the match kicked off. A camera recorded her then, and the footage was inserted into live TV later on, at the moment it would have the most impact. The emotional power of sport, on cue.

Naughty, naughty, naughty. How dare the television networks con us, the pay viewers, in such a cynical way.

Well they didn’t.

Don’t blame the BBC or ESPN. They didn’t know, nor did ARD, the German network airing the match, nor did ZDF or SVT, or any of the other hundreds of channels that had won the regional broadcasting rights around the world. They had no control or input into what was being recorded. They merely aired the streaming live signal from UEFA—which on multiple occasions goosed the live footage by adding prerecorded shots, with zero acknowledgement.

 We all remember the light hearted moment during the Germany Vs Holland match in the Group stages when German manager Joachim Loew playfully snuck up behind an unaware ball boy and smacked the football out from under his arm.

It showed a real human side to a man who often comes across as rather unemotional and was quite the counterpoint to what was possibly the most intense match of the group.

Well surprise, surprise it didn’t quite happen like that.
In reality the incident took place during the pre-match warm ups and was spliced into the live feed at a point when some UEFA goon in a suit decided it would provide the most amusement.

Two networks, claiming they were caught off guard by UEFA’s sneaky, underhand  practices, have spoken out against it:

“Of course any form of censorship or manipulation is not acceptable for us.” said ARD’s Euro 2012 chief editor Joerg Schoenenborn.” That’s why we clearly told UEFA that the German public expects coverage to be live when it says it’s live. Live is live and has to stay live.”

“We have complained to UEFA that the impression was aroused that these were live pictures,” ZDF editor-in-chief Peter Frey said. “That does not correspond to our journalistic standards.”

 Which of course is very admirable and indeed is the right thing to say in the circumstance. Doesn’t mean we should automatically trust everything that TV shows us though. After all haven’t we lived through years upon tedious years of “Scripted Reality” shows such as “TOWIE” or “Geordie Shore”?

Not to mention such absolute utter bollocks as the live, unedited antics of housemates on Big Brother?

Your favorite 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 correspondent are intently listening and paying attention, when actually  they might be doodling, picking their noses or surfing hardcore porn on their desktop monitors.

It’s subtle, it’s unnoticeable and it is utterly cynical, sadly the Hollywood manipulation of seemingly unbroken scenes is surprisingly common.

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