ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage
WHAT just happened?
Football fans around the country flocked to their televisions Wednesday night to catch A-League champions Sydney FC play Liverpool only to find some of the most cringe-worthy pre-match presenting seen in sporting history.
Presenters Jules Schiller, Tegan Higginbotham and Steen Raskopoulos took viewers on a memorable (or forgettable?) half-hour of TV before the match.
The sky box, usually kitted out with modern technology such as touch screens and tablets, was instead equipped with two sturdy whiteboards with cut-out faces to depict each side's line-up.
Schiller, Higginbotham and Raskopoulos presented an energetic preview of the match ahead, mispronouncing Liverpool striker Milan Baros' name as "Milos Baros" and pulling together a skit where they all texted former Socceroo Harry Kewell asking him a variety of questions.
"I guarantee he will write back," Higginbotham said after texting the 38-year-old "you called, who is dis?"
Higginbotham revealed she didn't get a response from Kewell, but was told by her mum she had lipstick on her teeth for the entire pre-game coverage.
To make matters worse, ABC2's halftime reporter, clad in a fresh Sydney FC jersey, asked a fan what his favourite "possession" was before sheepishly covering himself by saying, "I've been possessed with the spirit of football. I love it, I bet you love it at home, too."
It was so cringe-worthy it had to have been a joke, but we're not sure.
Former Socceroo and Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater was horrified, writing in a series of tweets: "Who thought this was a good idea FFA! This is unforgivable and I and every supporter of our game would like an answer! This is what happens when people who have none or little knowledge of football make decisions! Embarrassing. I love our game and to have it bagged and disrespected by this coverage is unacceptable. How can we work so hard for 12 years and allow this to happen in front of a world audience!"
Fans also exploded, slamming the network for "wasting their taxes" on the disappointing hosts. Some even went as far as labelling them the "worst football hosts in history".
Schiller offered this response on Twitter: "Learnt that to be centre of a Twitter hate storm it's a worse crime to do badly reviewed sports coverage than propose blowing up ABC staff. Comments noted Twitter. I'll always love football and its passion. (Pity I couldn't write this on a whiteboard). Love Jules x."
Fans also questioned why the network didn't enlist popular football show presenters Santo, Sam and Ed - best known for their stellar coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on their show Cup Fever.
If ever a team was going to give Sydney FC a football masterclass this season it had to be an English Premier League heavyweight like Liverpool.
Even if it was only an end-of-season game, played after a fortnight of A-League celebrations and when the off-season holidays beckoned for Graham Arnold's champions.
Nonetheless the Reds, fresh from sealing their return to the Champions League, ran riot to topple the Sky Blues 3-0 at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.
- with AAP