Fans label BBC ‘disrespectful’, as it airs lengthy pre-packaged segment criticising Qatar’s human rights record instead of game’s glitzy opening ceremony
By MEE staff
Qatar opened this year’s World Cup with a stunning opening ceremony kicked off by actor Morgan Freeman, and BTS K-pop star Jungkook, along with hundreds of other performers, lights, flames and plenty of glamour, but fans tuning in via the BBC were left out of the magic as the British broadcaster chose to skip the first half-hour of the event.
At first BBC One chose to continue coverage of the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but once the match finished, instead of switching over to the live performance, it aired a pre-recorded report on Qatar’s human rights record.
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“It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked,” said the Match of the Day host Gary Lineker at the start of the segment, before diving into criticism against Qatar’s treatment of women and migrant workers, free speech and a series of other issues.
“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,” Lineker said. “Homosexuality is illegal here. Women’s rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight.”
“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.”