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AIPS President claims Argentina insulted journalism during World … – Insidethegames.biz

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International Sports Press Association (AIPS) President Gianni Merlo has joined the criticism of Argentina’s celebrations following their victory over France in the final of the FIFA World Cup last month.
Lionel Messi and his Argentina team-mates chanted a song containing an expletive in the mixed zone, in front of the media after beating France in the final 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.
“Support the national team, support them to the death because I love Argentina, because it’s an emotion I carry in my heart,” the players sang.
“And I don’t care what those f*****g journalists say!”
High expectations in the media, often comparing Lionel Messi to Diego Maradona, have intensified a fraught relationship between Argentina’s national team and local press.
The team faced heavy criticism after losing their opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup 2-1 to Saudi Arabia, before recovering to lift the trophy for the first time since 1986.
“The Argentina team in the mixed zone sang a song that was disrespectful to us,” said Merlo in an end of year message.
“They insulted our profession.
“I know that they were full of joy, but even in the joy they have to be careful not to insult other people because we are there to work with them for a better sport in the future.
“And I hope that they will apologise for their position because I believe that champions and journalists must work together to defend the principles of sports, the freedom of sports, the freedom of discussion, the freedom of expression, because this is the real point.”
AIPS, founded in 1924, represents sports journalists in more than 160 countries.
Merlo is just the latest to draw attention to Argentina’s celebrations, which many believe overstepped the mark, with French Football Federation President Noël Le Graët writing to the Argentine equivalent Claudio Tapia to complain.
Argentina’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez had mocked France’s star player Kylian Mbappé, who scored three goals in the match before converting his penalty in the shootout, in the dressing room by shouting, “A minute silence… for Mbappé who died!”
During the trophy parade in Buenos Aires, Martínez was then spotted holding a doll with Mbappé’s face on it while a group of supporters set fire to cardboard decorated like a coffin with a photo of the Paris Saint-Germain player on.
Mbappé has claimed he is unconcerned about the insults which has led to reports that Unai Emery, Martínez’s club manager at English Premier League club Aston Villa may sell him because he is so unimpressed.
“The celebrations, they’re not my problem,” said Mbappé after Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 win over Strasbourg last Wednesday (December 28) in his first match since the World Cup final.
“I don’t waste any energy on such futile things.
“What’s important for me is to give the best of myself for my club, and we’re looking forward for Leo [Messi] to return to continue scoring and winning matches.”
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Duncan Mackay is the founding editor of insidethegames.biz, the world’s leading and most influential independent Olympic news website. He was voted the British Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, British News Story of the Year in 2004 and British Sports Internet Reporter of the Year in 2009. Mackay is one of Britain’s best-connected journalists and during the 16 years he worked at The Guardian and The Observer he regularly broke several major exclusive stories. He was also the only newspaper journalist in Britain to correctly predict that London would win its bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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For nearly 15 years now, insidethegames.biz has been at the forefront of reporting fearlessly on what happens in the Olympic Movement. As the first website not to be placed behind a paywall, we have made news about the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and other major events more accessible than ever to everybody. 
insidethegames.biz has established a global reputation for the excellence of its reporting and breadth of its coverage. For many of our readers from more than 200 countries and territories around the world the website is a vital part of their daily lives. The ping of our free daily email alert, sent every morning at 6.30am UK time 365 days a year, landing in their inbox, is as a familiar part of their day as their first cup of coffee.
Even during the worst times of the COVID-19 pandemic, insidethegames.biz maintained its high standard of reporting on all the news from around the globe on a daily basis. We were the first publication in the world to signal the threat that the Olympic Movement faced from the coronavirus and have provided unparalleled coverage of the pandemic since. 
As the world begins to emerge from the COVID crisis, insidethegames.biz would like to invite you to help us on our journey by funding our independent journalism. Your vital support would mean we can continue to report so comprehensively on the Olympic Movement and the events that shape it. It would mean we can keep our website open for everyone. Last year, nearly 25 million people read insidethegames.biz, making us by far the biggest source of independent news on what is happening in world sport. 
Every contribution, however big or small, will help maintain and improve our worldwide coverage in the year ahead. Our small and dedicated team were extremely busy last year covering the re-arranged Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, an unprecedented logistical challenge that stretched our tight resources to the limit. 
The remainder of 2022 is not going to be any less busy, or less challenging. We had the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, where we sent a team of four reporters, and coming up are the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the Summer World University and Asian Games in China, the World Games in Alabama and multiple World Championships. Plus, of course, there is the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Unlike many others, insidethegames.biz is available for everyone to read, regardless of what they can afford to pay. We do this because we believe that sport belongs to everybody, and everybody should be able to read information regardless of their financial situation. While others try to benefit financially from information, we are committed to sharing it with as many people as possible. The greater the number of people that can keep up to date with global events, and understand their impact, the more sport will be forced to be transparent.
Support insidethegames.biz for as little as £10 – it only takes a minute. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.
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