UEFA denies suggestions of censoring crowd trouble
16 June 2008
VIENNA – UEFA has denied suggestions by Austrian and Swiss television companies that it tried to suppress coverage of crowd trouble at Austria’s opening European Championship match against Croatia.
Flares smuggled by fans into Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadium were lit in the crowd during Croatia’s 1-0 win over the co-hosts on 8 June, but Switzerland’s SRG-SSR TV and Austria’s OERF did not show images of the incidents.
The state broadcasters had said UEFA, which feeds footage from 30 of its own cameras at each match to rights holders, had opted not to provide images of the disturbances, but European football’s governing body said Monday that was not the case.
Responding to comments by SRG director general Armin Walpen that suppression of footage was “more than problematic”, UEFA on Monday rejected any suggestion that it had censored the images.
UEFA said that it had not interfered with the feeds in any way and that the companies’ own directors were responsible for selecting what was seen by viewers.
“Maybe the TV companies need to speak to their directors before they speak to us,” UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said.
In the same game, the British Broadcasting Corp. decided not to show footage of a Croatia fan who made his way to the coaches’ bench on the side of field, but Gaillard said that was also the decision of that individual company.
British television rarely shows spectators invading the field at sporting events to try and discourage copycat incidents. Gaillard said the Croatia fan had been sponsored by a beer company, and that UEFA had responded by taking away all the company’s match passes.
[AP / Expatica]