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UEFA’s TV scandal: some tournament images cooked up

Jul 2, 2012, 10:16 AM EDT

Czech Republic v Portugal - Quarter Final: UEFA EURO 2012 Getty Images

If accusations against the European Championship broadcast elements turn out to be true, someone surely must answer for it.

The tournament was full of emotion on all sides, good and bad – it didn’t need images manipulated in ways that would make propaganda ministers proud.

Turns out that at least some of the swell TV pictures we watched from Poland and Ukraine over three-plus weeks were cooked up a bit, displayed well out of context in ways that distorted their true meaning.

For instance, the main feed showed images of a German fan crying after Mario Balotelli’s second goal during last week’s loss to Italy.  What seemed so poignant turned out to be less so.

In fact, that woman wasn’t actually defeated by the moment; those pictures had been taken before kickoff when she was overcome by emotion during the German national anthem.

Also related to Germany, manager Joachim Low was shown at one point playfully poking a ball out of a ball boy’s hand. I even commented about it on the blog; along with everyone else, I saw that shot as a steely demonstration of Low’s grace under pressure, his ability to brilliantly deflect the rising heat of the moment.

Turns out, that one also was a pre-game shot – but one inserted disingenuously to look like a “live” shot.

Viewers here watched the matches on ESPN platforms. So it should be noted that ESPN was taking the UEFA feed, just like everyone else.

  1. florida727 - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Sorry, Steve, but this is a NON-story. The matches are all that mattered, and frankly, no one has to “answer” for some TV footage being manipulated, because nobody cares. I say congratulations to UEFA for the event they staged. I’m not a diehard fan, just a casual one, but when able to watch, I really enjoyed the matches, the atmosphere, everything about it. Job well done. It showcased a great sport that’s still too underrated here in America. The skill of those guys still amazes me.

    • drewsylvania - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      I’m trolling a little bit here, but how much of what you saw in the match was live?

    • Steve Davis - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      “It showcased a great sport that’s still too underrated here in America. The skill of those guys still amazes me.” Your own words, man! I couldn’t agree more. I’ve written over and over that it was a great tournament. So WHY would broadcasters feel the need to trick it up? It’s not a major scandal the way, say, a match-rigging accusation is. But do you really want people going down that road … cooking up images that don’t actually depict what’s happening? My opinion, it’s a slippery slope.

  2. chumthumper - Jul 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I watched several complete games and came away with a new appreciation for the skill of players at this and the world cup level. However, scandals, flopping, game fixing and racism continue to be an albatross around soccer’s image. Obviously, EUFA thought they needed to pretty it up for world consumption.

    • thehogfan - Jul 3, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      The match fixing and racism scandals are bad and need to be dealt with.

      I don’t love the players flopping, but I accept it as just part of the game. In the NBA and NCAA basketball, the players flop, try to draw fouls, etc and it’s the exact same to me. It’s also in the NFL (and every level of the game), the wide reciever frequently tries to draw contact on a ball they can’t catch to try to get a penalty… Last year there was scandal over tired players at the end of a game faking injury to delay the game.

      Hopefully those things don’t overshadow the amazing tournament that just ended for more casual soccer fans.

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