Unbiased FIFA and biased media

Freepik/@ almumtazza

Original article (in Montenegrin) was published on 15/12/2022

The football rhapsody in Qatar is coming to an end. While we are enjoying the mastery of football virtuosos and numerous surprises, FIFA has its hands full of disciplinary punishments. The football associations of Serbia and Croatia have been fined 20,000 and 50,000 Swiss francs, respectively, along with the Football Association of Saudi Arabia.

Serbia was punished after the banner with the map of Kosovo, with the inscription “No Surrender”, which was hung in the dressing room of the “Eagles” before the match with Brazil. The complaint was lodged by the Football Association of Kosovo. The Serbian media reported on the imposed fines in a biased manner:

SHAMEFUL DECISION! FIFA FINES SERBIA AFTER A BANNER ABOUT KOSOVO! Croats receive SYMBOLIC punishment for brutally insulting Borjan

Kurir’s article states that the Croats received a “symbolic” punishment, but in fact, it is more than two times higher compared to the one imposed on the Football Association of Serbia. In addition, it is stated that FIFA’s decision to fine Serbia over the Kosovo-related banner is “shameful”. It should be taken into account that Kosovo has been a member of FIFA since 2016.

The BBC in Serbian also wrote about the fines at the WC in Qatar. Their title reads:

FIFA World Cup 2022: FIFA fined Serbia for the “No Surrender” banner and also fined Croatia for the tractor

FA Serbia was fined based on Article 11 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, Offensive behaviour and violation of the principles of fair play, as well as based on Article 11 of the FIFA World Cup Regulations, point 4 – which refers to the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

Croatia will have to pay 50,000 francs due to improper behaviour of fans during the match against Canada, in connection with Article 16 of the Disciplinary Code – Order and security at matches. Namely, the Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who plays for Red Star Belgrade, is a Serb from Knin. Croatian fans insulted and provoked him with banners like the one with a tractor and the inscription “Knin 95”.

In addition to Serbia and Croatia, the Saudi Arabian Football Association was fined 30 thousand francs due to six yellow cards. There is no mention of that fine in the Kurir article.

The World Cup in Qatar should be a celebration of football and an event that brings people together. The strained relations in the region do not seem to benefit from that spirit, and it appears they just moved four and a half thousand kilometres to the south.

The Kurir article is rated as biased reporting.

The “Biased reporting” rating is given to a media report for which it can be clearly determined to favour facts, attitudes and conclusions that fit a certain narrative, often disrespecting the rule of reaching out to the other side when it comes to claims that are harmful to someone’s reputation, or that portray certain actors in a negative light. One of the forms of biased reporting is the selective presentation of facts, where the facts that support a certain thesis are emphasised, while the facts that do not support it tend to be omitted.