30 million people expected to watch Football World Cup 2006

FIFA press department director Marcus Ziegler is confident that over 30 million TV viewers all over the world will be watching the matches of the World Cup 2006. Trud speaks with Marcus Ziegler just one month before the World Cup 2006 kicks off in Berlin.

- The World Cup is the most important event in the world in sport this year. Three million spectators will fill up the arenas in 12 German cities. An accumulative audience of 30 million people is expected to watch the games on TV. Around 1 billion 100 million fans will be watching the finals.

- I fear that the Football World Cup will be a boring time for the female part of the world’s population…

- Your fears lack grounds. According to opinion polls, 50% of football TV viewers are men while the other 50% are women. Still, male fans click on the official FIFA website on the World Cup more frequently than female football enthusiasts, the percentage is 65 by 35.

Q: Everybody is concerned about security these days. Should we worry for security arrangements at the World Cup?

A: Security experts who took part in a recent special conference on security issues have assured the organizers that everything was under control. We have been told that security arrangements both for the team members and spectators will be guaranteed during the games. I won’t elaborate on technicalities, though. Security measures work best if they are discreet.

Q: More that 11,807 journalists covered the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. How many journalists were lucky to get accredited at the World Cup?

A: So far 4,400 members of the print media and photographers have been accredited. But many more still want to get accredited. Nearly 2,000 journalists in Brazil alone were lining up to take a trip to the World Cup 2006. Our monitoring shows that apart from sending trite reports on football matches, almost all sports reporters are going to follow their national teams as the latter go from one Germen town to another.

Q: What is your attitude to the fact that that the media has been focusing on footballers’ private life? Tabloids frequently publish photographs featuring players having fun, not necessarily in the company of their spouses…

A: My attitude is rather negative. Well, football players must be pretty much annoyed too at the intrusion into their life. I don’t like barefaced paparazzi spying on athletes and football players. I won’t lift a finger to help them with accreditation.

Q: Where will the FIFA executives and referees be located during the World Cup?

A: The FIFA executives will be based in Berlin, while referees will be located in Frankfurt.

Q: Why referees will be out in Frankfurt and not in Berlin ? Is it for the purpose of avoiding pressure and stress?

A: By no means. It’s not that complicated as it seems. Frankfurt has a huge airport so referees will be better off in Frankfurt when they need to reach any of 12 German cities where matches are held. Anyway, we don’t expect any pressure to be put on referees.

Q: Some players will be likely to get a warning, others will be sent off – just like in any World Cup in the past. What kind of punishment a player will face if he is served a yellow card?

A: Well, getting a yellow card is like the sword of Damocles hanging above a player’s head.

A player will be sent off if he gets a second yellow card during the same game. And he will skip the next match if he gets a second yellow card in another game.

Q: Which of the national teams enjoys the maximum number of clicks on the FIFA website built specifically for the upcoming World Cup?

A: Brazil, no doubt about it. It’s funny that the Brazilians decided to acclimate in the quite of Switzerland, they did not go to Germany. They apparently hoped to find peace in a small Swiss town. But their hopes soon died away. Crowds would gather every day around their camp, fans just wanted to take a closer look at the magicians. As a result, temporary stands for 7 thousand had to be built in that sleepy Swiss town.

Q: Do fans show any interest in the Australian team? I am asking the question because the current coach of Australia’s squad, Guus Hiddink, will take over the Russian national team soon after the World Cup.

A: Let me put it this way: Australia gets as much interest as it deserves.


Translated by Guerman Grachev

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov