World Cup Censors Stadium TVs

Photo courtesy of <a href=“http://si.smugmug.com/Portfolio/Portfolio/1674201_UxZmP/6/248654656_qCXN6/Small”>SmugMug</a>

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


ESPN is reporting today that FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, will censor instant replays on the large screens inside the World Cup stadiums, after footage of the first goal by Argentina’s Carlos Tevez in yesterday’s Argentina-Mexico match showed that Tevez was offside. The replay, which came in place of normally-scheduled “infotainment,” spurred the Mexican players to protest the referee’s call in real time. FIFA’s answer: No more replays inside the stadiums.

“This will be corrected and we will have a closer look into that,” a spokesman said today. “We will work on this and be a bit more, I would say, tight on this for the games to be played.” This comes amid mounting evidence of the game-changing fallibility of FIFA’s referees, who have made bad call after bad call in this year’s World Cup (see: Koman Coulibaly).

Soccer is one of the last sports not to use video replay technology to corroborate decisions by its referees. FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, has said that relying on replays would disrupt the “natural dynamism of the game” and, perhaps more significantly, he thinks it’s better for business, er, entertainment to leave fans guessing. After rejecting a free upgrade in his Geneva home to a new HDTV box, which has instant replay capabilities—and after a valid goal by England’s Frank Lampard was disallowed in Germany’s second-round drubbing of England yesterday—Blatter told journalists: “I like not being able to see things again, and prefer to try and guess what happened from one viewing, rather than confirm my suspicions by rewinding the live action and confirming my thoughts either way.” Really?

What happens when, byte by byte, footage of the most publicized, advertised, politicized sport in the world is available to audiences but not to referees? What of these apparent “blind spots” in sports, both accidental and enforced? This World Cup is expected to be the most-watched television event in history, with 22,750 hours of feed produced and SONY deploying new 3D cameras to film the matches. As FIFA buries its head in the sand, the world is watching—and wondering whether this uneasy marriage of access and willed ignorance can last. 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate