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History: Football in TV

Just as football and the medium of radio inspired each other, the same happened with football on television. Sir Stanley Rous, later FIFA President, then realised that football had to be shown on television if it was to retain its popularity.

🇩🇪 Hallo! Diesen Artikel gibt es auch auf Deutsch. Wechsele hier zur deutschsprachigen Version.

What was against it? Well, there were many voices that fans would no longer come to the stadium because of TV broadcasts. Or that games would be misreported because journalists would no longer report from the stadium either. The fear of the unknown.

In the 1930s, there were only a few broadcasts at first, not only in Germany or England, and the commentators initially spoke in a very stilted and formal manner and could hardly recognise the players on the field. But things improved over time. For Stanley Rous, then FA Secretary asked two BBC commentators to invite FA President Pickford in 1937. Pickford was an older man who knew football from the early days of the FA. He accepted the invitation that promptly followed and what after his first appointment as co-commentator was clearly a surprise. The two BBC men were real gentlemen, he told Rous afterwards.

With that, the breakthrough was made, Pickford’s opposition disarmed. Pickford’s joy at being on TV with him ensured that there were soon regular football broadcasts in England.

But that was not enough of a discussion about televised football. While there was no longer any discussion of principle, the new technology often made referees look old, as commentators could easily review the decisions of match officials through replays and slow motion.

In 1970, at its Annual General Meeting (AGM), the annual meeting where rule changes are discussed and decided, the IFAB for the first time criticised the use of television footage and commentary in conjunction with replays and slow motion. Those that question the authority of the referee or female referee. It was unanimously decided at the meeting to ask TV broadcasters to stop using slow-motion replays and, in general, to stop reflecting on referee decisions. Whether the number of slow motions decreased, I cannot say. But it did not diminish that from the late 1960s onwards, TV footage was used repeatedly and increasingly selectively as evidence in sports court hearings.

More on this in „Video replay – back and forth“ here on Nachspielzeiten.

Kategorie: English


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