The London Times has admitted that "it was duped into publishing a hoax exclusive about plans for a Qatar-based Dream Football League" in an episode it described as a "journalistic nightmare," according to Josh Halliday of the London GUARDIAN. In a column in Monday's paper, the Times Football Editor Tony Evans admitted that the paper had "missed warning signs about the story in the rush to publication." An internal investigation by the paper's ombudsman revealed that the March 13 story published under the header "Sheikhs shake world game," was "based on an unreliable source and that other pre-publication checks were not sufficiently strident" (GUARDIAN, 3/18). The Times apology was published under the header "When we are wrong, we will hold our hands up. It's the right thing to do." In it, Evans wrote, "There are times when all you can do is admit you were wrong." The story was "a horrible prospect that threatened to transform the sport but appeared to be a brilliant story." Evans explained that reporter Oliver Kay, who wrote the original story, "developed a relationship with a contact who appeared to be connected" with the Qatari ownership at Paris St. Germain. However, Evans admitted the story "appears to have been invented and had just enough plausibility to be seductive" (LONDON TIMES, 3/18).
Former ManU player and TV analyst Gary Neville admitted that he "could be forced" to give up his role at Sky Sports if he is to pursue a career in coaching, according to David Kent of the London DAILY MAIL. The former full back is one of England Manager Roy Hodgson's coaches, "a role he combines with working as a match analyst for Sky Sports." Neville said, "I'm not naive and think that both roles can go on forever. I'm not stupid and eventually I will have to make a choice or something will happen with the England job or the Sky role. But I love doing both." Neville also revealed that "he never had any plans to go into coaching so soon after retiring from playing" (DAILY MAIL, 3/18).
German free-to-air TV channel RTL "has recorded around half-a-million less viewers to its Australian F1 Grand Prix broadcast in comparison to last year's race," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. A total of 2.81 million viewers tuned in to watch Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen win the race at Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit. In the target demographic 14-49, the channel obtained a 41.3% market share. In addition, Sky's broadcast also received less viewers than it did in '12. An average of 230,000 viewers watched the race on the pay-TV channel. The number translated into a 3.5% share. In the target demographic, the race recorded a 3.2% share (DWDL, 3/18).
SPAIN: Free-to-air channel Antena 3's live morning broadcast of the Australia F1 Grand Prix was watched by 1.3 million viewers and a 60% share. The channel re-aired the race later in the day to the tune of a 29.3% share and 2.95 million viewers (VERTELE, 3/17).
FRANCE: Pay-TV channel Canal+'s live morning broadcast of the race saw 420,000 subscribers tune in to watch Räikkönen win (LE POINT, 3/18).
WINTER SPORTS: DWDL's Krei also reported German public broadcaster ARD "recorded strong winter sports ratings on Sunday." An average of 3.37 million viewers tuned in to watch the women's biathlon mass start race, which started at 10:27am German time. The number equaled a 27.8% market share. Following the women's race, the men's mass start race attraced 3.91 million viewers. In the target demographic, the two races obtained market shares of 19.4% and 15.1%, respectively. In addition, the women's giant slalom race was watched by 2.21 million viewers, while men's ski jumping attracted 2.76 million (DWDL, 3/18).