Posted: Saturday June 30, 2012 1:12 PM

UEFA under fire for 'manipulated' Euro 2012 images

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BERLIN (AP) -UEFA has come under fire in Germany for allowing prerecorded scenes to be cut into live coverage of games from the European Championships.

Images of a German fan crying after Mario Balotelli's second goal in Thursday's 2-1 defeat to Italy were in fact taken before the semifinal, when she was overcome with emotion during the anthems, according to German broadcaster ARD.

The issue came to light when the woman received e-mails from friends at home wondering why she was so upset with almost an hour still to play.

"We are surprised and irritated. These pictures aren't acceptable for us, especially since we spoke to UEFA about this problem a few days ago,'' ARD's Euro 2012 chief editor Joerg Schoenenborn told Saturday's Sueddeutschen Zeitung newspaper. "We're now looking for further talks.''

ARD first sought the European football body's clarification after Germany coach Joachim Loew was shown playfully knocking a ball from a ball boy's arm during the country's group game against Netherlands, despite the incident happening before the game took place.

"Of course any form of censorship or manipulation is not acceptable for us,'' Schoenenborn said at the time. "That's why we clearly told UEFA that the German public expects coverage to be live when it says it's live. Live is live and has to stay live.''

ZDF, which broadcast the Germany vs. Netherlands game, said it was unaware pre-match footage was being shown as part of the live match package, with the channel's chief of sports, Dieter Gruschwitz, describing it as "completely unusual.''

Gruschwitz said the broadcaster had no influence on the worldwide live signal.

"We have complained to UEFA that the impression was aroused that these were live pictures,'' ZDF editor-in-chief Peter Frey said. "That does not correspond to our journalistic standards.''

Sueddeutschen Zeitung reported that UEFA maintains a policy of censorship in its TV coverage, avoiding any images of political banners, empty seats, pyrotechnics or streakers on the pitch.

UEFA was unable to immediately provide comment.
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