CBS News, 5/2/12
Mexico’s scheduling conflict between a presidential candidates’ debate and a soccer quarterfinals match got ugly Tuesday, amid accusations of skullduggery, greed and authoritarianism. It seems to have been turned into a grudge match, between whether Mexicans will tune in to watch politicos batting around ideas, or two of the nation’s best teams kicking around a ball.
Electoral authorities made plans two weeks ago to hold the debate at 8 p.m. this Sunday. Then on Monday, Mexico’s soccer federation announced it will hold a first-division quarterfinals match between Tigres and Morelia at the same time. Leonardo Valdes, the head of Mexico’s electoral institute, condemned some broadcasters’ decision to show the soccer game and not the debate.
“This sends a bad message,” Valdes said. “I think it has been proven that these matches can be broadcast at other times. Traditionally on Sundays they have been at other times, not so late.” Valdes said authorities won’t change the debate, even though one network owner, Ricardo Salinas Pliego of TV Azteca, suggested in a Twitter posting that the soccer match will easily win the ratings race. “If you want to see a debate, watch it on (rival network) Televisa. If not, watch soccer on Azteca, I’ll tell you about the ratings the next day,” Salinas Pliego wrote in a Twitter account linked to his corporations’ websites.