Fans’ fury as BBC and ITV fail to show World Cup opening ceremony

‘Why are there no British channels showing it?’ Fans’ fury as BBC and ITV fail to show World Cup opening ceremony on TV with viewers forced to watch it online instead

Football fans eager to watch the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar were left wondering why the BBC chose not to broadcast the first 20 minutes of the show.

The world’s largest footballing tournament opened with a glitzy ceremony at the Al Bayt stadium in Doha in which actor Morgan Freeman delivered a rousing monologue and Jung Kook of South Korean boy band BTS took to the stage for a live performance.

But viewers in Britain missed out on much of the spectacle because the BBC was late to broadcast the show by 20 minutes.

The first part of the opening ceremony was missed because BBC One opted not to interrupt coverage of the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

But once the game had concluded and the BBC switched to its team in Doha, it refused to show the remainder of the opening ceremony on terrestrial TV, instead broadcasting a pre-packaged report on Qatar’s questionable human rights record and the controversy surrounding the tournament. 

The decision enraged fans who took to social media to express their distaste, with many pointing out what they saw as hypocrisy on behalf of the BBC to maintain the broadcast rights to the tournament while simultaneously restricting viewership. 

Supporters have now arrived at the Al Bayt stadium for this afternoon’s opening match under a glaring sun in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees celsius

Morgan Freeman and Ghanim al Muftah during the opening ceremony. Supporters have now arrived at the Al Bayt stadium for this afternoon's opening match under a glaring sun in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees celsius

Morgan Freeman and Ghanim al Muftah during the opening ceremony. Supporters have now arrived at the Al Bayt stadium for this afternoon’s opening match under a glaring sun in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees celsius

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor

Three Camels, together with their handlers during the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor. Picture date: Sunday November 20, 2022

Three Camels, together with their handlers during the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor. Picture date: Sunday November 20, 2022

‘So BBC aren’t showing the full opening ceremony because they don’t agree with Qatar’s human rights record…. I get it… but why are they there then?’ one commentator said.

Another chipped in: ‘@BBC where is the world cup opening ceremony? I pay tv licence to you guys, I don’t want to hear and watch your negativity! If you didn’t want to show it you should have given it to ITV or just boycott from showing it!’

One asked incredulously: ‘So no one aired the world cup opening ceremony in the IL and the BBC just use that slot to preach instead while their presenters are making millions?’

And another angrily wrote: ‘Biggest competition and sport on the planet and you idiots can’t even put the opening ceremony on live TV @BBC why the f*** do we pay TV licence.’ 

In order to watch the opening ceremony, viewers had to tune into the BBC Sport channel via iPlayer or to find the relevant channel on the red button. 

Social media users published a storm of enraged posts after the BBC chose not to broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony on terrestrial TV

Social media users published a storm of enraged posts after the BBC chose not to broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony on terrestrial TV