Know your audience

This week if you follow Premier League football (soccer) here in England you will not have been able to avoid the Diego Costa situation. For all those that don’t follow the Premier League or know Diego Costa, he is one of the top strikers in the world and plays for Chelsea. Diego is a player who plays on the edge and plays the game in an aggressive manner. Last weekend he hit an opposing player twice in the face, was not sent off and in the aftermath managed to wind up an opposing player enough to get that player sent off.

Match of the Day

One of the biggest TV shows about football in the UK is called Match of the Day and it is broadcast on the BBC, which the UK population funds through a licence fee. Match of the Day is a TV programme that is an institution and is one of the oldest shows still running about football, it is a show which is broadcast on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, it is a show watched by children and families.

When the pundits on Match of the Day had their say on the incident involving Diego Costa they basically passed it off as part of the game. I ask this week – what kind of message is that to send to children? I think this programme has completely forgotten it’s audience; it’s place and who funds it. It has got caught up in trying to create controversy for social media and needs to take a long hard look at itself.

It’s about reaction

It is not Diego Costa’s job to be liked or to play within the rules. He is paid to win football matches for his team. It is up to the referees and media to decide how they are going to react to it. One BBC radio station said that ‘Costa needs referees to keep him in check.’ Again I think this is wrong, it is up to Diego Costa to play the game in the way he wants, it is the referees job to apply the laws of the game.

I have no qualms with late night football shows or football shows on commercial channels and subscription channels reporting on the incident in anyway they see fit as they are trying to get viewers to make money, but the BBC shouldn’t be hunting attention in the same way.

Media

Media is one of the most powerful influencers on society, especially young people so we need to be careful about how we report things. How the media treat the game today will impact on how youngsters watching the game now will play the game in 10 and 20 years to come, it will shape the next generation of British footballers. This is why not just for today but for the future we need to think long and hard about the way we represent the game.

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