Running with the World Cup pack

By Lou Thomas 

CAN I organise last-minute accreditation to report on the tournament?

Fifa spokesman Pekka Odriozola says: "The deadline for accreditation was 15 January and we will not be able to make exceptions. The demand was so great we had to make some difficult choices. There’s been a huge demand. Thousands and thousands of journalists from all over the world have been requesting accreditation. The teams that qualify for the competition receive a greater amount of accreditation than those who have not qualified."

How many journalists will be covering the World Cup?

Fifa, which controls the overall running of the tournament, says 4,000 print journalists, 1,000 photographers and more than 100 website editors will attend. The Local Organising Committee (LOC), which manages the media facilities for the tournament on behalf of Fifa, also expects 1,500 radio and television journalists, spread out among the venues. The facilities at the stadium in Berlin, where the final will be played on 9 July, is typical in its amount of space available for broadcast journalists and will hold 122, in addition to 491 print journalists. It will all be managed from the International Broadcast Centre in Munich.

What can I do about getting accommodation?

World Cup Accommodation Services (WCAS), a consortium led by the LOC, has been established to provide accommodation during the tournament.

WCAS’s hotel inventory consists of more than 46,000 hotel rooms spread across the 12 venues.

Journalists who haven’t organised their room should be aware that if there are any rooms still available (unlikely, considering the sheer number of regular fans attending), prices have been hiked substantially across Germany. It has also been reported that there are now no motor homes in the UK to rent or buy for use during the World Cup, as expectant England fans have already snapped up every vehicle available.

How are the media facilities set up for UK journalists?

Football Association spokesman Mark Whittle says: "The press will be staying in Baden Baden near the team. A lot of the English journos will be staying in the Brenner’s Park Hotel. It’s not the official journalists’ hotel, but it’s the one we recommend they stay in and it makes it easier for us to get them to our training centre and arrange transport and that sort of thing.

"We’re in a unique position in the fact that by a country mile there will be more journalists interested in our training sessions and our press conferences than any other nation. Just to give you an idea, the press conference in Portugal during 2004 for the European championships the day before England v France, where David Beckham and Sven-Goran Eriksson were available for interview, we had 365 journalists in one room.

"No other country comes close to half of that. The high level of media we have in England and the worldwide star nature of our players means that both domestically and internationally we’re one of the most followed teams.

"We’ve had requests from Brazil, Sweden, the US and China already. We’re facing a unique situation where we have to accommodate hundreds of press. "We’ve gone about building another huge media centre in Germany. It’s purpose-built and can hold about 500 print, broadcast, internet and radio journalists. Broadly speaking, we’ll have a huge working area. There’ll be three separate rooms — one for written, one for TV and one for radio. I think the journalists prefer it that way: they can keep with their genre. If we provide Beckham, Sven and Gerrard, one can be doing each room.

"We’ll have a small office for ourselves and a briefing room as well. In addition in this huge central working area, we’ll have daily British and German newspapers, PCs, internet access, a PA wire service, international TV channels running and breakout interview rooms. We’ll probably do post-England training sessions where we’ll bring out one or two of the players — whoever’s topical at that moment."

What are the headline figures?

Some 3.2 million tickets have been sold for people to watch 32 teams from across the world for one month.

More than a billion people in more than 200 countries will watch the tournament worldwide.

What’s the biggest challenge of organising the tournament?

According to a LOC spokesman: "Ticketing. We have 3.2 million tickets and about 100 million people who want to go to the stadiums. We sold the tickets on the internet and had five phases of selling them.

After the first phase, we had a draw to try our best to be fair with the ticketing. We had 812,000 tickets and about 10 million people wanted them." The LOC believes there will be about a million fans from outside Germany coming into the country.

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