02nd Dec 2010

World Cup Bid: so we lost, stop sulking for chrissake…

STOP PRESS – ORIENTALIST DISCOURSE RUN RIOT! Xenophobic media reporting of the decision to give Russia – not Eng-er-land! – the 2018 World Cup paints a sorry picture of sports journalism in this country. And the BBC – only too happy to broadcast a Panorama special on Fifa corruption just days before the big vote – has been one of the worst culprits. Peter Allen on 5 Live offered pathetic criticism – rendering Qatar (winners of the 2022 bid) unfit to host the tournament, and snuggling up to the ineffectual Cameron/Windsor/Beckham triumvirate as if the sun shone out of their Etonian/Leytonstonian backsides. Unsurprisingly, Talksport’s xenophobia reached fever pitch, with Russia and Qatar described as dangerous and not footballing countries. Such reportage says nothing about the fair-minded, cosmopolitan, multicultural, mixed-up people we English/Brits are – and always have been. Come to think of it, those right-honourable representatives hardly represent the nation either.

Personally, I’m delighted for Russia and Qatar – they’ve never hosted the World Cup (England has) and both countries sit in TV-friendly timezones, not too far behind Asia/China nor too far ahead of the West. Plus they need the investment – we don’t. We’ve got the Olympics (and we can’t afford them) – so let’s not expect too much of a world beyond our shores that looks on us, quite justifiably, as an arrogant and rather isolated island still harping on about its glorious history and wonderful heritage… not to mention the colonial aggression, rampant imperialism, slavery, territorial theft, rape, pillage and so on. 

Anyway, by the look of things, we might just see off Nepal’s vertical pitch and win the bid for 2050 – by which time I’ll be in my seventies, with a place in the sun (as opposed to the snow), and football will have been re-branded (for the nth time) a whole new ball game (the Premier League/News Corp affair will be so, so yesterday – we won’t even recall, or be reminded of, who won all those PL titles!).

UPDATE 3/12 – UK NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES: The Sun – Russia bunged World Cup… The Daily Mail: Was it a stitch up?… The Times: Frozen Out [a reference to the voting as well as the weather]… and most Orientalist/impartial/racist of them all, The Daily Mirror: SOLD – RUSSIA, a Mafia state rotten to the core with corruption, QATAR, a medieval kingdom with no freedom of speech, Both are swimming in oil money…

No surprises – sad but true, you would expect our press to engage in such sensationalist, emotive garb. But I reiterate my point made earlier in this post – you wouldn’t expect the BBC and other major broadcasters to take the same line. Newspapers aimed at 9-year-old readerships are one thing – public service media aimed at a more mature and diverse audience are quite another. No wonder there’s been a blacklash against xenophobic reportage voiced across social media and the odd broadcasting platform (including the 5 Live phone-in) this morning.

Comments are closed.