It was enough for nine minutes. How Russian television censors international sports

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Russian propaganda has found a new enemy – sports abroad. The principle “it’s not us fascists, it’s you fascists” was used twice by the federal channel “Match” only last weekend. However, he did it so ridiculously that he instantly became the object of ridicule from users.

The Bundesliga was one of the first in football Europe to launch a campaign in support of Ukraine. Photo: AFP

It all started during Saturday’s broadcast of the main meeting of the 28th round of the German Bundesliga. Less than a quarter of an hour later, Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig clarified relations, as the commentator abruptly interrupted the live broadcast.

Initially, Igor Kytmanov explained force majeure by circumstances beyond the control of the translator. However, he later clarified that the Bundesliga decided not to follow the principle of “sport outside politics” – and this provoked a Russian response.

Well, less than 24 hours later, the situation repeated itself. Only this time the Russians lasted only nine minutes of the match between “Mainz” and “Borussia” from Mönchengladbach. After that, Germany’s accusation of politicizing sports went on the air without equivocations.

What caused the outrage of TV bosses? First of all, the banner “Stop war” against the background of the Ukrainian flag, which has permanently appeared on the central led panel of stadiums. Secondly, the hashtag “Stand with Ukraine” – it accompanied most of the information messages during the meeting. The last straw was a demonstration of fans with yellow and blue flags.

As those familiar with the situation told us, the Match leadership equated the big plans of the fans with anti-Russian propaganda, so they gave the order to “press the switch.”

Interestingly, the Bundesliga has long been considered by the Russian federals as a hostile organization. In March, “Match” was outraged by the demand of the rights holders to replace the emblem of the tournament on all air – and refused to repaint the logo of the competition in yellow and blue.

In response, almost a court summons came with a threat from the German Football Association to terminate the contract. At that time, no radical measures were taken, despite the fact that the Russians extended the broadcasts without edits.

However, now, cooperation is likely to end – in part or in full. Although “Match” is unlikely to be shocked by this.

In early spring, the country that started the war was left without air by the English Premier League and the French Ligue 1 – the contracts were terminated by the Europeans unilaterally.

By the way, manipulations with football shows for “Match” are not news. A few weeks ago, the channel was noted during the broadcast of the Europa League game between West Ham and Sevilla. When in the 88th minute of the meeting the English club threw Ukrainian Andrei Yarmolenko into battle, the directors blocked the replacement of the stadium plan.

When the midfielder brought victory to the Londoners in the 112th minute, instead of celebrating it, the audience saw… a man who was treated to a burger! Meanwhile, the ball was crucial and brought “West Ham” to the next round of the competition.

The joy of the Ukrainian Yarmolenko was replaced by a much more important plan on Russian television. Photo: screenshot of the match “Match TV”

The principledness of TV, perhaps, would be clear with a certain sequence in the actions of the feds. However, last week, live presenter Anton Anisimov called the players of the Polish national team “ugly creatures” while summarizing the results of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

And he did it only because the Polish athletes qualified for the World Cup without a face-to-face fight with the Russians. It will be recalled that the latter were disqualified from all tournaments under the auspices of FIFA and UEFA just before the round of the playoffs for aggression by the state against Ukraine.

Anisimov, who almost guaranteed the Russians a place at the forum, saw this as a political attempt to thwart sporting principles. And so “gave free rein to the emotions of a simple fan.”

Match did not see any politics in the live broadcast of the concert “For a world without Nazism!” For Russia! For the President! ”, Which took place in mid-March in Luzhniki.

Vladimir Putin’s propaganda speech, which justified the war in Ukraine, was listened to by about 200,000 people in the stadium alone.

The broadcaster justified the show by having a huge number of champion athletes there: figure skater Sinitsyna, gymnast Averina, skier Bolshunov, swimmer Rylov and a dozen other Olympians. In addition, the event was led by the voice of Russian biathlon Dmitry Guberniev.

As a result, Polina Gagarina’s singing and Oleg Gazmanov’s patriotic instructions were heard by the Match audience for several hours instead of watching real competitions – the ones for which the TV channel was launched.

The best Russian athletes – at a political event in “Luzhniki”. Photo: screenshot of the broadcast of the channel “Match”

And of course, what is the policy on a channel that excludes from its ranks top commentators who have allowed themselves to criticize the government or its actions? In particular, such dismissals have been taking place at the Match since 2016, as Alexei Andronov and Denis Kazantsev can tell. Recent examples are the stories of Dmitry Shnyakin and Roman Naguchev, who were “suspended from work indefinitely”…

Vasily Utkin – by the way, also the voice of sports fired from the channel – recently estimated that the dictatorship on the channel was already worth the work of more than a dozen employees. And the outflow of personnel, according to the announcement of the pro, will continue.

Therefore, of course, it is high time to accuse the Bundesliga of politicizing sports – other examples of propaganda invasion on foreign soil and it is impossible to imagine…

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