UEFA confident that Euro 2008 TV pictures will not be lost again
June 26th, 2008

UEFA officials said today they were confident there would be no repeat of a breakdown which deprived television viewers around the world of nearly 20 minutes of Germany’s Euro 2008 semi-final win over Turkey. Vienna’s International Broadcast Centre (IBC), from where TV pictures are relayed, lost power last night after being hit by hurricane-force winds and the system failed to automatically change to a backup supply.

Alexandre Fourtoy, head of UEFA’s media technology arm UMET, apologised for the loss of pictures and said UEFA and the system provider were sure there would be no repeat for Thursday’s second semi-final between Russia and Spain, or Sunday’s final, both in Vienna. ”Yesterday, because of the massive storm in Vienna, there were three minor power cuts, each less than a millisecond, which caused the master control room to reboot, which can take around five minutes,” he told a news conference. ”The system was defective in detecting the cuts and switching to backup power but we have changed this to ensure continuity of the signal for the remaining games.”

UEFA’s director of communications William Gaillard told a news conference: “This is not normal summer weather for central Europe. It was exceptional and there is no forecast of a repeat.”

Pictures were lost for two separate six-minute spells and UEFA then decided to manually take the system down, causing another six-minute break, to switch to the back-up power supply. Swiss TV was able to show continuous pictures as there was a separate fibre-optic feed from the Basel Stadium.

Other broadcasters including Germany’s ZDF, used the Swiss pictures with their own commentators, slightly off the pace, tagged on. It ensured German viewers did not miss any of the goals, including Semih Senturk’s 86th minute equaliser for Turkey and Philipp Lahm’s last-minute winner in the 3-2 victory, but most other countries were not so lucky.

(Source: Reuters)