Wednesday, 24 April 2013


The way Sports TV networks cover big issues that arise in whatever field of sports, says a lot about how much they are in touch with the aspirations and agenda of their viewers. SKYSPORTS have exclusive broadcasting rights to two-thirds of matches in the premier league, and have thrilled it's audiences over the years, no doubt. I am starting to wonder if complacence has now set in. Did you notice how the greater interest of it's viewers took a back-seat in it's post match analysis of the Liverpool V Chelsea game? It's pundits were effusively preoccupied with the off-the-ball incident involving Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic. If you missed the game, and relied on their analysis, plus the incessant incident replay, you'd be forgiven for thinking that's all that happened for 90 minutes.

THE LUIS SUAREZ ISSUE: The style with which this mega broadcaster handled  the immediate aftermath of the game, and the suspicion ( it should be because his admission had not been made public yet at the time) Luis Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic was tawdry, and this sort of crassness has become pervasive with coverage of Soccer games, and the punditry / commentary business on television. Pundits are fast becoming self serving renegades, and we saw that typically exhibited by Jamie Redknapp and Greame Souness last Sunday. Yes, it was a vulgar incident, and we get it, the media thrive on gory details most often, but on pay TV or any platform of mass viewership, it's imbecilic postulation to subsume a brilliant game into a flash point. Millions of Liverpool, Chelsea, and neutral soccer fans  would have wanted SKY to make the game the focal point : how it panned out tactically, and the best players on the day needed attention. Perversely, the interests of paying viewers were held hostage to the demagoguery and glorified opinions of pundits Jamie Redknapp and Greame Souness. In their misguided mind-set of being famous ex-Liverpool players, assaulted viewers with the values Liverpool stand for, and Luis Suarez being "in last chance saloon " e.t.c.  Sanctimonious nonsense. A complete turn-off.

FAILING : This preposterous narrative that TV networks sell about getting famous ex-players from big clubs, who won lots of trophies in their time..... or the variant : get good looking famous ex-players on prime-time  - underpins  this poor approach to match analysis and punditry, that has subscribers scrambling for the mute button in a rage. How do you explain the impetuous approach taken by Jamie Redknapp and Greame Souness on Sunday ?  I wish SKY could ! Speaking like exulted Liverpool FootBall Club owners, these two carried out a verbal lynching of Suarez, and pronounced his likely fate. I believe with the situation still fluid, such inflammatory comments on television is not helpful to anyone, and is possibly prejudicial.  A calmer, more measured approach was needed precisely because the incident was self-explanatory, and potentially with serious consequences.

Jamie Redknapp

OPINIONS:  An objective panel of pundits weaved from all sections with interests in game would be a lot more beneficial. Reports that another soon to be ex- Liverpool  player, Jamie Carragher is coming to work for SKY is troubling. If it does happen, it serves to underline the theme of this blog: SKY are forming a cartel here... those who shape the views of the fans on TV should have a broader  appeal, and understand the agenda of the viewer comes first. The game is so emotive and tribal, opinions espoused on TV must be fairly refined, and served dispassionately to viewers.  Most of this lot do not have a clue about that.


END GAME : There is nothing esoteric about the football lexicon. It is largely self-explanatory. If great ex-players hardly make great coaches, why is that statistic ignored when networks employ pundits ? Viewers need  information like bio-data, statistics, form guide and related details on players to be better illuminated, so as to form our own opinions. Studios have too much of a macho, Boys-Brigade feel to it. Broadcasting networks have an assumption that generically, soccer fans are intellectually challenged, as such a paragon of ex-players is needed on prime-time slots to generate credibility and commercial leverage. A Position  both condescending and denigrating. Subscribers, at least, should rise up, and attack this bastion of tokenism and perversity at the heart of punditry and commentary in the game. The payers interests must always come first, and the game much too universal . SKY miss that fact.