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Telemundo Doesn’t Shy Away From World Cup Controversy

You can't escape reality.

Telemundo’s intro to the World Cup was exactly what you would expect an intro to a big tournament would be like. 

It was fair, it gave some background on the country and some context on the issues surrounding Qatar being the host of the 2022 World Cup - of which there are many, while still focusing on the sports angle and not the political angle. Most informed people who watched it probably dismissed it as just normal information.

Except, you know, when not everyone is giving you information, the ones who do become news. That’s why Telemundo’s intro is making the rounds a day after the World Cup’s inauguration. Well, that and the fact that FOX, the network which holds the US English-language rights to the World Cup, managed to ignore any and all whiff of controversy in their coverage.

It’s Day 2 of the World Cup, and already the political implications of the games have dominated the narrative. Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0, the first time the host country had lost an inaugural game. England beat an Iranian team that refused to sing the national anthem on the heels of a crackdown against protesters at home, one which started following the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old was arrested by Iran's Gasht-e Ershad ("Guidance Patrol") for allegedly wearing an inappropriate hijab.

So, Telemundo not shying away from the implications of Qatar hosting the World Cup actually makes more sense for what this tournament is than ignoring it. Qatar, after all, faced controversy from the beginning, with corruption allegations surrounding their hosting bid. That was followed by reports of unsafe working conditions for migrants building the infrastructure Qatar needed to host the tournament.

And that’s without even going into what Human Rights Watch calls “numerous human rights concerns surrounding Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup,” which include not just discrimination in general, but also violence against women and the LGBTQ+ community. Or the way less important but still crucial to fans fact that beer was banned from stadiums at the last minute, despite the fact that in 2014 FIFA forced Brazil to allow the sale of beer in stadiums for the World Cup, despite the fact it was previously banned in order to curtail violence.

Telemundo didn’t say anything wrong. They didn’t try to “make it political.” The tournament itself is already political, and good coverage cannot escape that. And considering the fact that the video is being shared all over, it’s fair to say fans agree.