No football World Cup was discussed and argued in the run-up to such an extent, and such distrust was rarely shown to a host. The TV stations take this into account with many documentaries.
The title chances of the DFB team, the World Cup favorites or possible stars at the tournament – in the run-up to the World Cup in Qatar, the sporting topics in the media are almost of secondary importance.
The focus is on the human rights situation of the controversial host, its treatment of foreign workers, the rights of homosexuals and women or the circumstances of the award to the mini-state without a football tradition by the world association FIFA.
For the media rights holders Telekom, ARD and ZDF it is a special challenge to find the balance between live sports and topics outside of football. “Of course the topics are very different. There comes the famous image of the balancing act that we have to do,” says ZDF team boss Christoph Hamm. One could “imagine nicer places for such a major event,” comments Hamm’s ARD colleague Harald Dietz. “But for us it is clear that this is not a normal sporting World Cup.”
Months before the start of the World Cup, Telekom, ARD and ZDF provided numerous background information on Qatar and the situation there. Shortly before the spectacle began on November 20th, they intensified the reporting. Other broadcasters such as RTL or ProSieben also have and had documentaries about Qatar and the inglorious role of FIFA in their programs.
Documentaries shed light on World Cup backgrounds
Telekom, which has the rights to all 64 games, already showed the documentary “No Rainbow in the Desert” on MagentaTV at the end of September. The film can also be viewed for free on YouTube.
Among other things, the ARD has a theme day on Qatar in its program on Monday. First, at 8:15 p.m., the film “Qatar – why only” by ex-national player and ARD expert Thomas Hitzlsperger will be broadcast. “We were in Nepal and Qatar. And we spoke to people who bring in a new perspective,” says the 40-year-old. He spoke to workers and the bereaved of workers who died in an accident. He also interviewed national goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Ilkay Gündogan. “That was important to me,” says Hitzlsperger about his film. “I was happy that I did it because I can say: When the World Cup starts, I’ve dealt with it critically,”
At 10:50 p.m., Philipp Sohmer and ARD correspondent Ramin Sina will broadcast “The World Cup of Lies – how FIFA puts it nicely in Qatar” on the theme day. The film focuses on FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino. “We’re doing a fact check. We’re looking at statements made by Infantino and checking them,” explains Sina. “We picked three points: point sustainability of this World Cup, then to what extent this World Cup can bring society forward in Qatar and to what extent the World Cup will bring football forward.”
The ZDF documentary “Geheimsache Qatar” by Jochen Breyer and Julia Friedrichs, broadcast on Tuesday, showed that the World Cup is anything but a normal World Cup. In it, World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman caused unanimous outrage with his homophobic statements. The second also released the film “The World Cup Scandal – How Qatar Buys Football” by Delphine Lopez and Pierre-Stephane Fort.
The “Sportstudio” on November 19 (11:30 p.m.) is dedicated entirely to the World Cup. A day later the ball rolls in Qatar. Then the actual journalistic balancing act begins for the stations for four weeks.