Mediawatch was pleasantly surprised to see The Sun dedicate five pages to football’s problem with racism, though we were amused by their back-page astonishment that Uefa could possibly charge England too…
‘Uefa ‘wage war’ on bigots…then they charge us as well!’
…because of course Uefa should have just ignored the fact that England fans disrupted the Bulgarian national anthem and the FA took an ‘insufficient number of travelling stewards’, because the Bulgarians were guilty of far, far worse offences. It’s a variation on the usual, tiresome argument: Why are the police stopping good folk from a little bit of drink-driving when old people are being mugged?
The Sun website opted for deliberate obfuscation, of course, reporting:
‘Uefa charge ENGLAND after disgraceful Bulgaria racism for booing national anthem and ‘insufficient stewards’
They also charged Bulgaria with racist behaviour, throwing objects, showing replays on the big screen and disrupting the national anthem, but why mention that in the headline when you can enrage a nation by suggesting that Uefa have had the nerve to charge ENGLAND?
Over at the Daily Express, this is just bizarre:
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) October 15, 2019
The sub-headline says that ‘UEFA WON’T CONDEMN RACISTS’, while Matthew Dunn writes that ‘still UEFA show no signs of taking the lead in the fight against racism’ and that ‘any direct words of condemnation from UEFA of the abhorrent racist acts that took place were conspicuous by their absence’.
Which is all really, really odd because Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin issued a statement on Tuesday in which he referenced ‘unacceptable behaviour’ and ‘appalling views’ and including these words, which sound rather like condemnation of abhorrent racist acts to us.
“Believe me, Uefa is committed to doing everything it can to eliminate this disease from football. We cannot afford to be content with this; we must always strive to strengthen our resolve.
“More broadly, the football family – everyone from administrators to players, coaches and fans – needs to work with governments and NGOs to wage war on the racists and to marginalise their abhorrent views to the fringes of society.”
Hell, he even uses the word ‘abhorrent’. No, he does not mention Bulgaria on Monday night, but Uefa have issued charges and commenting on an ongoing investigation would be ludicrous. You might as well ask why the police do not publicly ‘condemn’ a man they have just charged with murder.
Mediawatch is not happy to find itself fighting Uefa’s corner, but leading disgruntled English fans in some kind of crusade against those damned European ‘donkeys’ is pretty much exactly what we do not need right now.
Line up in line is all I remember
The Daily Mirror also dedicate five pages to their ‘Boot Out Racism’ campaign, which we fully expect to eradicate racism by the turn of the year.
But of course fighting racism does very little for clicks so by 11am, the Mirror football website is leading off this thick slice of original content:
‘How Liverpool could line up against Man Utd as key players return’
Is it their first-choice side that won the Champions League?
Yes, it’s their first-choice side that won the Champions League.
Thanks. For. That.
‘Nobody said these things’
Back to The Sun website and Mediawatch would like a stern word about the use of quote marks. Call us old-fashioned but we think quote marks should denote actual quotes. Silly Mediawatch.
So when we see a headline like this one…
‘Spurs ‘up their pursuit of Mourinho’ amid uncertainty over Man Utd target Pochettino’s future’
…we want to know who said that Tottenham have ‘upped their pursuit of Mourinho’. And of course we discover that nobody has said any such thing, but that a French outlet called Soccerlink (nope, us neither) have claimed that ‘according to our information, Jose Mourinho has been contacted by the London staff who hold him in high esteem’. No ‘upping of pursuit’ or indeed any ‘pursuit’ at all.
So where did those words ‘up their pursuit’ come from? Why from the Daily Express website, of course, who clearly saw that Soccerlink story on Tuesday and, in an effort to manfully stretch one line into a story long enough not to anger the SEO gods, have written that ‘Tottenham have now upped their pursuit of the Portuguese by contacting him about taking over’.
So The Sun quoted the Express who had read something similar on a French website that was not on anybody’s radar until Tuesday afternoon.
It’s 2019, folks. Isn’t it beautiful?
If I could…
Talking of ripping stories from foreign websites and hoping that nobody notices that you have added a whole barrel-load of extraneous information, we bring you the gossip page of the BBC, who really should know better.
‘Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho, 27, could still return to Liverpool – if Bayern Munich decide not to sign him permanently next summer. He is currently on loan at the German champions from Barcelona. (AS)’
Mentions of Liverpool in that AS story: Absolutely none.
What the story does include is a line that ‘if Bayern choose not to extend his stay, there is confidence that the Premier League will come calling’. Does that mean he could join Crystal Palace or Norwich too?
Cout of order
Obviously, the BBC are not the only ones…
‘Barcelona confident Liverpool, Man Utd or Chelsea will buy Coutinho if Bayern reject deal’ – Daily Express.
‘Liverpool remain a summer transfer option for Philippe Coutinho’ – Teamtalk.
‘Liverpool news and transfers LIVE – Philippe Coutinho ‘could rejoin Reds’, Ben White linked, David De Gea injury blow’ – Liverpool Echo.
‘Transfer News Live: Man Utd, Chelsea Arsenal and Liverpool latest plans’ – The Daily Star lead with the ‘live’ transfer news that ‘Liverpool could still re-sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona next summer’.
And all this nonsense generated by this throwaway line: ‘And if Bayern choose not to extend his stay, there is confidence that the Premier League will come calling.’
As you may know by now, Mediawatch loves nothing more than being told what is ‘hilarious’…
Chelsea star N’Golo Kante proves he is football’s most likeable character by hilariously posing in sunglasses during line-up photo https://t.co/7RmZ4RWS8k
— The Sun – Chelsea (@SunChelsea) October 15, 2019
He has his arms folded! In sunglasses!
Recommended reading of the day
Daniel Taylor on Manchester United’s recruitment (£)
Seb Stafford-Bloor on Manchester United patience
Barney Ronay on the fall-out from Bulgaria