Key matches for the Brazil World Cup are being watched by commentators in a studio in Doha, more than 7,000 miles from where the actual games are being played, Arabian Business can reveal.
BeIN Sport – formerly known as Al Jazeera Sports – has been broadcasting all the matches from Brazil live, with a studio-based panel featuring Richard Keys and Andy Gray in Doha. However, Arabian Business has learned that much of the live English commentary is also taking place from studios in Doha, with the channel’s lead commentary team of Matthew Spiro and David Pleat not attending actual matches in South America.
Spiro has commentated on a number of key games, including England v Uruguay and USA v Germany. On a number of occasions during the commentary, both Spiro and Pleat have given the impression of being in Brazil – regularly making reference to the crowd, the weather, the city – and in the case of USA v Germany, even the traffic problems outside the stadium.
On 18 June at 3.33pm, Spiro sent a tweet saying “preparing for commentary of tomorrow’s big game #ENG #URU” – a reference to the match between England and Uruguay on June 19.
Spiro also included a picture on a swimming pool in the tweet. However, closer analysis by Arabian Business has revealed the picture was taken from the pool deck of the Courtyard by Marriott in Doha City Centre. The two buildings in the background of the picture are the Woqod Tower and Ashghal Tower 3. The match between England and Uruguay tool place in Sao Paulo, 7,341 miles from Doha.
Qatar Airways does fly direct from Doha to Sao Paulo, however the flying time is over fourteen hours, and the daily flight would not arrive in Brazil until 4.40pm on June 19, just twenty minutes before the match kicked off.
On June 14 he tweeted “feel privileged to having commentated on last night’s Dutch masterclass,” a reference to the match between Holland and Spain in Salvador, before adding “England next up for David Pleat and myself.”
The match between Holland and Spain took place in Salvador, nearly 2,000 miles from England’s match against Italy in Manaus. However, again it is understood both matches were watched by Spiro and Pleat in front of a television in Doha. Manaus is a further 7,662 miles from Doha.
Unlike the English broadcasts, it is understood that all BeIN Sport’s Arabic commentary team are at the actual matches in Brazil.
The brand beIN Sport was initially unveiled by Qatari Sports Investment, the parent company of Al Jazeera Sport, in 2012 following the acquisition of live broadcasting rights to France’s Ligue 1 football league. The network currently operates in markets including France, the US and Indonesia, with online streaming services in Canada. It also holds the rights to broadcast live sports including rugby league and the Superbike World Championship.
BeIN Sport did not respond to queries from Arabian Business.
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