Wed. Nov 30th, 2022
                                         Spain News    Italy News
Viewers were disappointed that Fox's World Cup coverage ignored Qatar's awful human rights record

If you were holding out hope for Fox Sports to take a measured approach to a World Cup in Qatar, that optimism was quickly dashed during the coverage of Sunday’s World Cup opener.

From the moment Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in 2010 — a successful bid that ended up being bought and paid for — it was clear that we were going to be looking at the most corrupt World Cup from an organization that’s no stranger to corruption. After all, a nation the size of Connecticut with no soccer history was faced with hosting soccer’s flagship event. And the 12-year build-up put Qatar’s terrible record on human rights on display for the world to see.

That created a difficult balancing act for every sponsor and rights holder associated with the World Cup. On one hand, they’re paying millions (or billions) of dollars to show the games, and people are still going to tune in. But at the same time, there was a way to contextualize the World Cup with a host nation that has covered up thousands of migrant worker deaths, persecutes the LGBTQ+ community and has discriminatory laws towards women. England rights holder BBC, for example, took that measured approach.

Gary Lineker starting the world cup showing with that speech damn pic.twitter.com/2KHKfzvgtD

— lozzles SAW ENGLAND MAKE HISTORY (@binweevillie) November 20, 2022

Fox, on the other hand, opted to straight up sportswash with coverage that often sounded like an infomercial for Qatar.

“It’s 64 Super Bowls in 29 days… This is a once in a lifetime opportunity where people will come and celebrate football.” @JennyTaft speaks with Secretary General of the Supreme Committee Hassan Al-Thawadi before the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup pic.twitter.com/LHrtqcTGJQ

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 20, 2022

Our crew is excited to be in Qatar for the #FIFAWorldCup @RobStoneONFOX | @EniAlu | @clint_dempsey | @AlexiLalas pic.twitter.com/GXcRPJodJP

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 20, 2022

Now, if Fox’s coverage sounded like it was paid for by the Qatari government, that’s because it was. According to the Washington Post, Fox Sports was initially planning to keep some of its announcers back in the U.S. for remote broadcasts until Qatar paid for their flights on Qatar Airways.

Fox Sports is also lavishing praise on Qatar for much the same reason. From @benjstrauss https://t.co/mG6gP9npwn https://t.co/D4LL0BwvjA pic.twitter.com/Lp9pdNqPhS

— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) November 20, 2022

And the result has been predictable with Fox going out of its way to paint the picture of a welcoming nation hosting a historic World Cup. The shamelessness can only be topped by the state-sponsored Qatar Airways logo being included on Fox Sports’ scorebug.

Let’s recap day one of Fox’s World Cup coverage:
– Presenting sponsorship by Qatar Airways
– Puff piece before the opening game
– No references to any geopolitical and human rights issues
– And then you compare it to what Telemundo, the BBC and even beIN Sports are doing… pic.twitter.com/zgqK4Jjp7p

— Bob Williams (@WilliamsBob75) November 20, 2022

No wonder viewers were disappointed with Fox Sports’ approach. It was embarrassing.

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