Sunday, March 4, 2018

BBC muddies a story of anti-Israel bigotry in sport - by Hadar Sela

...Obviously the BBC could have done more to make this story comprehensible to audiences but instead, we once again see the corporation skirting around the issue of discrimination against Israelis in sport.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Wath..
04 March '18..

On February 28th an article titled “Iran wrestling officials resign over Israel competition ban” appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page and on the BBC Sport website’s wrestling page. Readers found the following description of the story in the opening paragraph:

“The head of Iran’s wrestling federation has resigned after criticising authorities for letting players be punished because of the country’s ban on athletes competing against Israel.”

Which “authorities” did he criticise? That only becomes clear later on in the report.

“Wrestler Alireza Karimachiani was banned for six months after throwing a match to avoid an Israeli opponent last year.

Earlier this month, Mr Khadem criticised Iranian authorities for their stance on Israeli opponents, and called for a “fundamental solution” to the ongoing problem.

“Forcing an athlete to accept defeat or run around all night looking for a doctor’s note is not right,” he said.

He suggested he was forced from the post in a cryptic letter posted on the body’s website on Wednesday.”

What the BBC euphemistically describes as “the ongoing problem” is of course Iran’s practice of pressuring its sportspeople to avoiding competing against Israelis at international events. The BBC’s report describes that practice in typically tepid terms.

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