It is a sharp indictment that “Die Wochenzeitung” (WOZ) makes in its latest release. The newspaper writes that Sascha Rover, commentating on the matches of the Swiss national football team for the SRF, made “obviously racist” remarks about national team captain Granit Xhaka. And Rover quotes it like this: “Xhaka’s granit is many things, but he’s not Swiss.”
Rover is said to have said the sentence during the recordings of the recently broadcast documentary series “The Pressure Game”, in which he accompanied the national team before and during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Experts like Ruefer have their say. Only: The sentence cannot be heard in the final version of the documents.
Rover is known to have deleted a segment before it aired, apparently fearing that one of his sentences could be classified as racist. CH Media first reported on this at the end of March. Suzanne Schaller, SRF Sport’s editor-in-chief, said at the time: “It’s normal for a project like this to have an initial release at the beginning. This is first looked at in a small group. Then it’s reflected back with everyone involved. If there are statements it can Misunderstood in context, we interfere.
Rover interrogates Xhaka as a leader
In his life as a reporter, Rover has repeatedly criticized the leader Xhaka, not the footballer Xhaka. After the double-headed eagle cheered against Serbia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he said the gesture was “stupid, stupid,” sparking a day-long debate across the country. Later, he once said that he would never express himself that way again. After Serbia’s next match in the Qatar 2022 World Cup and Xhaka’s grip on the crotch, Rover wondered if Xhaka could continue as captain of the national team.
So this sentence that WOZ is quoting right now. Various Swiss media picked up on this news. The headlines are: “Allegation of racism against commentator Natty Rover” (Blake). Or: “A lot, but not the Swiss” – a big fuss about Xhaka’s statement by SRF-Ruefer ”(20 min.).
A very knowledgeable source confirmed to the newspaper that Rover said the ruling as reported by WOZ. But the crucial question is: In what context did Rover say it? This is not clear yet.
CH Media quoted an informed source about ten days ago. He reported that Rover’s statement had been taken out of context and was therefore given a racist remark. “The SRF commentator actually wanted to describe Xhaka as an athlete. But in the transcript he was shown, it seemed he was talking about human Xhaka and not footballer Xhaka.”
“It’s taken out of context,” says SRF.
Two independent sources also reported to this newspaper that Rover’s statement was copied in the wrong context in the original version of “Squeeze Game”.
SRF also reacted to the WOZ text on Thursday. Schaller said Rover never made any racist remarks about Granit Xhaka as a person or about his origins during the hour-long interview. She continues: “In the first version of the film, a statement was taken out of context so that it could be misunderstood. That is why Sacha Ruffier withdrew the entire statement.”
If everything is as clear as many sources claim, good for Roiver. If not, it would be almost impossible to save him as a national team commentator. The only question is: why didn’t SRF finally clear up its most famous live commentator and post the original version? As long as that doesn’t happen, Ruefer will remain on the grill, prejudiced by many.
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– Without evidence to the contrary, SRF reporter Sacha Ruffier could hardly be saved
A football commentator is said to have made racist remarks about Granit Xhaka, WOZ claims. The SRF Sport stands behind its most famous man, but it doesn’t create any definitive clarity.