Jurgen Klinsmann alleged that it was “in the culture” of Iranian players to “work the referee”. The comments were slammed as “xenophobic” and “racist”
German football manager Jurgen Klinsmann spouted offensive remarks about the Iranian football team on the BBC during a post-match analysis on Friday.
Klinsmann alleged Iran used dirty tactics to defeat Wales during Friday’s game in Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, insisting on four different accounts during the show that “that’s their culture.”
Iran had scored at the 99th and 101st minute of the match, securing a 2-0 win against Wales.
By alluding at it in her question, the host of BBC’s World Cup Qatar 2022, Gaby Logan from Wales, appears to prompt Klinsmann to accuse Iran of using sinister methods to gain victory over the Welsh team.
“This is not by coincidence, this is all purposefully. This is just part of their culture, that’s how they play it,” Klinsmann said.
“Working the ref, working the opp”, he said, “They make you lose your focus, they make you lose your concentration and what’s really important to you.”
The racist remarks did not stop there. Another commentator on the panel questions him about whether the game would have turned out differently, indirectly meaning a game in favour of Wales, “if they had a European referee,” to which Klinsmann said: “big difference with another referee”, stressing on the referee’s Guatemalan nationality being the major factor underpinning Wales team’s loss.
The racist remarks sparked a social media outroar, with many calling out the European xenophobia especially when a Western country is on the losing end.
“Oh the irony of Klinsmann, who as a player was often accused of cheating (diving!), making these sweeping and pretty racist-sounding claims about Central Americans and Middle Easterns. Sad that nobody else on that panel called him out on it,” Mehdi Hasan tweeted.
“BBC has pretty garbage analysis most of the time but any national event really ramps their xenophobia up to 11. It’s not just Iran, South American teams are always ‘diving cheats’ and African teams are always ‘physical beasts but tactically inept’,” a frustrated Twitter user said.
“Unfortunately, that behaviour and the BBC is British culture,” another Twitter user said.
Addressing the unfair judgement of Iran versus Wales game, another social media user said Klinsmann reduced “Iran to some kind of thuggish gaming of the system. They dominated the damn game. Outplayed them.”
“His baseless, racist waffling during the post match analysis towards Iran was disgraceful and the BBC should be ashamed of themselves for letting him rattle on unchallenged on live TV,” another user said.
Others pointed out the lack of representation in the post-match analysis panel on BBC, saying: “No Iranians. I wonder if it even occurred to them to try and find someone who could speak for the Iran team. I fear not.”
The panel included the Welsh host as well as two Welshmen along with Klinsmann, who is of German nationality.
Pointing out the absurdity of not accepting a non-western victory against a western country, one such vexed user said: “They should just do away with the fancy title of ‘World Cup’ and have separate competitions for Whites and Others.”
British media has long used racist and xenophobic tropes to marginalise, belittle, and ‘otherise’ non-western achievements, which has been clearly exhibited since Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup 2022 back in 2010, and since the tournament began.
Another western hypocrisy and double standards did not go unnoticed as BBC football anchor Gary Lineker criticised Qatar while broadcasting live from a stadium in Doha on Sunday, as the channel refused to air the opening ceremony of the World Cup 2022 to “give a lesson on morality and politics” and demonstrate some virtue signalling.
“British media pushing the ‘dirty foreigner’ line […] Same every tournament. Borderline racist? Absolutely,” a Twitter user wrote online.