On Monday 4 May 2015, German public-service broadcaster ARD aired a report entitled “Der verkaufte Fussball” ("Football for sale"). Walter De Gregorio, FIFA’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, gave this response:
“Ahead of the ARD programme in question, FIFA received a list of questions to which we responded in writing. Practically all of the answers were ignored. At the same time it was alleged that FIFA refused to comment. Worse still, facts were distorted or presented out of context. One of the most glaring examples was the passage on employment legislation in Russia.
“During the broadcast it was alleged that FIFA called upon Russia to repeal its existing employment laws, and a passage from the Hosting Agreement was shown on screen as proof. The document was highlighted in two places, but the lines in between were omitted – lines that would have enabled viewers to understand the true content of the document.
“The suspension of employment law relates exclusively to FIFA staff in Russia; among other things, it concerns work simplification measures for employees of FIFA, its subsidiaries, service providers, host broadcaster etc. It in NO way constitutes the suspension of working conditions and the protection of construction workers and workers in Russia in general. However, this was precisely what was suggested in the segment.
“The fact that ARD is a rights partner to FIFA is one thing, and does not preclude them from broadcasting critical reports. Although the fact that a public-service broadcaster allows such a bashing is nothing new, it is astonishing nonetheless. New standards in quality journalism funded by the taxpayer.”