BBC relegates World Cup opening ceremony to online coverage | Qatar World Cup 2022 News

The British public service broadcaster has been criticized for choosing not to broadcast the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as part of its main coverage.

The BBC downgraded coverage of Sunday’s opening ceremony to secondary streaming, including its “red button” service, online iPlayer app and sports website.

Viewers of BBC One’s flagship coverage, however, were unable to catch the inclusivity-themed spectacle at Al Khor’s Al-Bayt Stadium and missed out on BTS star Jungkook and Qatari singer Fahad al-Qubais.

Morgan Freeman, who narrated the ceremony, showed up at the stadium to shake hands with a FIFA World Cup ambassador who suffers from a rare spinal disorder, in a photo meant to represent inclusivity in a country that has faced criticism for its human rights record.

BBC One has been broadcasting the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Tottenham, which ended after the opening ceremony. The BBC’s social media team also released a four-minute Instagram video around the same time looking back at the 1982 Gay Games organized by former Olympians to highlight homophobia in sport.

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When the channel switched to a show broadcast from Qatar, hosts Gary Lineker, Alex Scott and Alex Shearer discussed the allegations against the host nation.

“This is the most controversial World Cup in history, not even a single goal has been kicked,” said former England captain Gary Lineker in his opening monologue.

“Since FIFA selected Qatar in 2010, the smallest country that has hosted football’s biggest tournament has faced some major problems. From allegations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who build stadiums, many have lost their lives .”

“Homosexuality is illegal here, women’s rights and free speech are in focus. Also the decision to switch the World Cup from summer to winter six years ago.

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“In this context, there is a game to be played, a game that the whole world will watch and enjoy. Stick to football, like FIFA, well, we will, at least for a few minutes.”

In the 12 years since winning the right to host the Middle East’s first World Cup, Qatar has reformed its labor laws, including scrapping the much-criticized kafala system and an exit permit system abused by unscrupulous employers. Qatar has also introduced a minimum wage and new rules on hot work as part of labor reforms.

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In a report released this month, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Qatar had made progress on its labor reforms – improving working and living conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers – but said implementation challenges remained .

World Cup organizers say Qatar welcomes all fans regardless of their sexual orientation.

Public displays of affection are frowned upon in Qatar’s conservative society, and not just between LGBTQ couples.

A BBC spokesman told Al Jazeera: “The BBC has provided the full build and coverage of the World Cup, including the opening ceremony on iPlayer.”

BBC presenter Gary Lineker hit back at critics, saying it was all a matter of timing and logistics, tweeting: “It’s on @BBCiPlayer, BBC Sport website and red button.The time of the opening ceremony was recently changed to an earlier time, WSL has confirmed @bbcone. If you want to watch it, you can. “

The opening and opening ceremonies of the World Cup came a day earlier than originally planned by FIFA, which announced the move more than three months ago in August.


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