07232021

Jean-Jacques Amsellem: Why the live feed for Denmark vs Finland wasn’t stopped after Eriksen collapse


When football stopped

Yesterday’s match between Denmark and Finland in which Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field was one of the most shocking scenes broadcast live in broadcasting history.

Thankfully, news filtered through quickly that the former Spurs player was stabilised, conscious and talking from hospital.

In fact he reportedly spoke to the players, giving them his assurance to continue the match in what must have been an impossible situation to describe for his teammates.

In the period of unknown between him leaving the field and the match being restarted, fans of both sides joined together in a show of unified support for Eriksen.

The Finnish fans chanting ‘Christian’ and the Danes replying ‘Eriksen.’

In a time where the sounds from the stands have brought with it much hatred and lack of reverence, to see scenes of such love and support was truly humbling.

Explanation for live broadcast

Whilst the aforementioned scenes of hope were a sight to cherish, the incident itself brought with it much criticism of the decision to broadcast the distressing pictures to the millions of global viewers.

The live feed included close up images (which we will not show) of the players, coaches, family members and fans.

French outlet L’Equipe spoke with Jean-Jacques Amsellem, the director responsible for the global feed.

“As you can imagine there is no handbook for these sorts of things,” he said when asked about his reaction to the scenes.

“There was a slow-motion of the scene where we can see him fall really clearly, but I immediately forced my teams not to focus on him, not to film him anymore! With more than 30 cameras in the stadium, we could have continued to do so, but at no point did we go and do close shots on him.

“During all that followed, I actually went at one point to the Danes in tears because it was still necessary to show the distress. We also see the emotion of the Finns, that of the fans, but I do not think that we did anything murky.”

Jean-Jacques Amsellem: Why the live feed for Denmark vs Finland wasn’t stopped after Eriksen collapse

Denmark’s midfielder Christian Eriksen warms up before the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Amsellem said that they were told not to do close-ups or the ‘cardiac massage.’ However that filming the environment around it was given the go ahead:

“Yes our producer was in conversations with UEFA. The instructions were clear: we were told not to do close-ups, not to film the cardiac massage, but that there was no problem with filming the surrounding emotion.”

It was put to him how the coverage made viewers feel uncomfortable but Amsellem said that they ‘have to transmit how it felt in the stadium’

“If we do a general wide shot, we don’t show the emotion. That could have been for a long time… but we also have to transmit how it felt in the stadium. We showed the sadness and distress of the people, on the side of the players, the staff and the fans.

“We also saw unity in this moment of great anxiety, it had to be transmitted. I wouldn’t call it voyeurism. If someone had told me ‘‘stick with the wide shot,” I would have. But the most important thing, frankly, is that he is ok.”

Quotes from L’Equipe.

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