A controversy is raging over the commentary on an Asian Football Confederation under-23 (U23) qualifying match by Freedom Sports, a live streaming match-reporting service, which left some fans upset and led to recriminations in Taiwan’s soccer community.
In the game between hosts Taiwan and Myanmar at the Kaohsiung National Stadium on Friday last week, a female commentator working for broadcaster Freedom Sports was said to be unprofessional, lacking relevant soccer knowledge and guilty of making several vacuous comments about Burmese players.
The reporter’s commentary spurred a barrage of complaints, and debate between irate fans, Freedom Sports officials and local media, who accused the woman in question of a “racist game commentary.” Some netizens said they would be reporting the incident to the Asian Football Confederation.
The reporter said: “Myanmar, we are not sure what kind of country that is... It seems like their players train by running on grass pastures all day long and digging up yams to eat.”
When the visitors took the lead in the 29th minute, she allegedly said: “They just scored a goal, finished by No. 6. What is his name? That is not very important.”
As it turned out, the Myanmar No. 6 player — 18-year-old Hlaing Bo Bo, who plays for FC Yadanarbon of Mandalay — was important and his name might be remembered by Taiwanese fans for some time, because he scored either side of the break, leading his team to a 3-0 victory over the hosts.
Hlaing’s brace damaged Taiwan’s chance of advancing. The home side had hoped to win the key opening match, as beating Australia, the top-rated team in the group, seemed unlikely. The U23 Socceroos indeed proved too strong for Taiwan, hammering the hosts 4-0 on Sunday.
The distasteful remarks by the Freedom Sports reporter served to highlight her unprofessional approach, lack of pre-match preparation, ignorance of the game’s nuances and stereotyped opinions, local soccer fans said.
Local Taiwanese media yesterday referred to a “game broadcaster in a perceived racism row against the Myanmar team.”
One soccer fan even set up a Web site titled “Say No to Racism — We strongly condemn racist commentary in soccer broadcasting” to publicize the incident and demanded an apology from the live streaming service company.
It was reported that the commentator on Friday apologized on air toward the end of the game, saying that she did not have an in-depth understanding of the game, was unable to do a good job and will likely not be doing soccer reporting in the future.
However, over the weekend, Freedom Sports took a tough stance on the issue, as company officials accused soccer journalists and netizens of sensationalizing the incident, saying: “The comments were only said in jest. We will still use the same set of broadcasters for upcoming matches — if fans do not like it, then people can do the live streaming reports themselves.”
A Chinese Taipei Football Association spokesperson said Freedom Sports is not the official authorized broadcaster for the Asian U23 qualifiers in Taiwan, that there was no official authorization given and that the public should appreciate the company investing money and resources to bring online live streaming services of these games for the fans.
Freedom Sports finally issued an official apology yesterday afternoon, saying: “Due to inappropriate commentary during the Taiwan versus Myanmar match, which upset some fans, we would like to apologize to all our friends. We hope all fans can continue to support Taiwanese sports, and take an active interest in the games.”
US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s grandmother Niculina Raducanu wanted her to quit tennis because of concern about the teen’s health after breathing difficulties forced her to retire from Wimbledon this year. The 88-year-old Romanian told the Daily Mail that her granddaughter’s “health is more important” than wealth or fame. Fortunately for the 18-year-old Briton, neither her father, Ian Raducanu — Niculina Raducanu’s son — nor her Chinese mother, Renee Raducanu, took the advice and she swept through the US Open to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. Niculina Raducanu — known to Emma as “Mamiya,” a Romanian term of
The girls on Afghanistan’s national soccer team were anxious. For weeks, they had been moving around the country, waiting for word that they could leave. One wants to be a doctor, another a movie producer, others engineers. All dream of growing up to be professional soccer players. The message finally came early on Sunday: A charter flight would carry the girls and their families from Afghanistan — to where they did not know. The buses that would take them to the airport were already on their way. “They left their homes and left everything behind,” said Farkhunda Muhtaj, the captain of the Afghanistan
UNWELCOME TREND: The French minister of sports called for a ‘reality check ... starting with supporters,’ after the season had been marred by fan-driven chaos Racing Club de Lens on Saturday defeated reigning French champions Lille OSC 1-0 in a northern derby overshadowed by a pitch invasion that delayed the start of the second half by 30 minutes. Dozens of Lens supporters stormed the Stade Bollaert-Delelis pitch at halftime to confront the visiting Lille fans nestled away in a corner of the ground after tensions flared with other spectators. Riot police intervened to separate the factions of opposing supporters as both sets of fans hurled seats at each other over a partition wall. “We’re in the process of trying to get a clear view. It unfolded in some
Jim Knous and Maverick McNealy both birdied their final holes of the third round to top a crowded leaderboard at the Fortinet Championship, the first PGA Tour event of the new season, while Taiwan’s C.T. Pan was just four shots off the leaders. McNealy caught fire on the back nine, closing his round of 70 with three consecutive birdies for a 14-under 202 total to maintain a share of the lead on the Silverado Resort and Spa course. Neither McNealy nor Knous would sleep easy heading into yesterday’s final round, as there were 18 players within four shots of the lead, including