Alvaro-Neymar affair: the difficult proof of a racist insult

“We are not in a position to go in the direction of Neymar”. Monday evening, on Téléfoot, the journalist Thibault Le Rol explained that after viewing all the images of the meeting at his disposal, he and his team had not succeeded in obtaining proof of the racist insult uttered by the Marseillais Alvaro whose number 10 of PSG considers himself a victim. The PSG, for its part, embarked on a vast investigation to try to identify the moment when Alvaro would have launched “mono” (monkey, in Spanish) to his star striker.

The case will be brought this Wednesday before the disciplinary committee of the League. But at a time when dozens of cameras are filming a meeting as important as a PSG – OM, why is the search for such a crucial moment so difficult?

To understand this, we must first focus on the production system imposed by the League on a broadcaster, namely about twenty cameras. These are placed in the stands, at the height of 18 meters, at the level of the benches, behind the goals … There is also like Sunday evening the “spider cam” above the field.

The video stream from these cameras – before, during and after the match – is recorded by powerful video recorders in the OB van and constitutes a complete image bank of the evening.

Find an image where Alvaro Gonzalez is facing

The Ligue 1 rights holders Telefoot and Canal + thus end up with twenty sources of images lasting several hours. It is in this base for example that the journalists of Canal + drew to unearth the most crisp images in order to feed certain sections of the magazine J + 1.

In terms of sound, directional microphones are installed near the sidelines and goals. But if they made it possible to capture the anger of Neymar when he approached the assistant referee shouting “racism, no”, it is impossible for them to hang words spoken in the middle of the field.

To confuse Alvaro Gonzalez, you have to be able to find a plan during his altercation where he will be head-on and use lip reading. A capture by the microphone of the referee, Mr. Brisard, would have been possible if he had dragged up to Alvaro, which was not the case.

Proving that a word has been spoken is not easy

The “investigators” can also use additional images from the specific technical means of international broadcasters. You can also add specific cameras intended to supply the VAR. And on which the League can also rely if it wishes.

But this grid therefore offers no guarantee in the search for the truth. Proving that a word has been spoken is not easy. It is much more uncertain than finding a gesture like the spitting of Di Maria that Alvaro denounced and which sparked the incident with Neymar.

In the past, even Zidane’s header on Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final had only been captured by a single camera at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin and a mystery had long surrounded the words of the Italian.

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