The FIFA World Cup is not internationalized

At the time of this writing, the FIFA World Cup is almost at its final stage. Throughout the whole month of the tournament I have been amazed to find out that while UEFA has consistently made an effort to have the players’ names written as authentically as possible, FIFA hasn’t. Information conveyed to viewers in televised matches is transliterated, making many players’ names appear irritatingly different than their national, conventional spellings.

It can be argued that FIFA has a tougher job with various languages and characters. After all, the 2014 World Cup had Japan, South Korea, Iran, Russia, and Greece, among others. These countries and their languages alone represent half a dozen character sets. There is a point in trying to achieve some sort of baseline transliteration, so that all names are expressed in the Latin character set. In practice this means that Russian, Greek, and other names are transliterated by default. However, names which can be perfectly written in extended Latin should not be transliterated. Now it seems like everything has been folded down to basic ASCII.

There is no technical reason to limit the displays on television screens to what is essentially a 7-bit character set, but this is what the result amounts to. For example, one of the finalists in this World Cup is Germany, and many of the players have characters with umlauts in their names. Here are a few examples:

Oezil should be Özil
Mueller should be Müller
Goetze should be Götze
Hoewedes should be Höwedes

EDIT: Also, the German coach is Joachim Löw, not Loew (or Low, as the content on the official FIFA apps would have us believe).

The players’ jerseys have the truth anyway, and it’s in direct contrast with what you see when somebody scores a goal, gets booked or gets sent off.

So please, FIFA, take a leaf from UEFA’s book and find out how to use modern broadcasting technology to the advantage of all football fans around the world (even if they might call it soccer). You might also start with a good book like “Unicode Explained” by Jukka K. Korpela.