RIO DE JANEIRO: The economic turmoil in the print media sector has been reflected in a reduced accreditation take-up at the World Cup finals in Brazil writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

A slippage has been noted thus far among the number of registered written press journalists as newspapers and magazine worldwide seek both to rationalise staffing and evolve into the internet publishing sphere.

The trend was noted at a briefing on media operations by Alain Leibling, FIFA’s responsible officer.

Leiblang cautioned that precise figures should not be analysed until after the finals because some accreditations had yet to be taken up by journalists due only for the closing stages of the tournament.

However he thought a realisation of the costs involved in covering the finals in country the size of Brazil was another factor in the cancellation of a number of approved accreditations.

Leiblang told the briefing: “Our goal for the World Cup is to give you the posibility to fulfil your mission so we try to help you do your job as well as possible.”

He offered an assurance that FIFA’s media operations staff noted comments and suggestions and “we try to take them into account and, though it’s not always possible, we do our best to provide you with the best facilities and services.”

Certainty all those journalists who attended the Confederatons Cup in Brazil last year had seen an upgrading of facilities including media catering, which is always a testing issue.

Leiblang explained the basic plan which sees FIFA allocate four media officers to each venue, two fixed and two floating. Altogether the tournament comprised 40 media officers.

Team delegations such as Iran and Algeria – unused to World Cup operations – had been assigned media officers to assist them in coping with the demands of working with the international press.

Leiblang also thanked and praised the 60-plus volunteers per venue who helped in the, hopefully, smooth running of media facilities. He said: “We hope you have found the organsation of this World Cup of a very high standard.”

Thus far written the number of badges printed and issued to the foreign written press numbered 2,033 plus 593 for Brazil which was roughly standard for a host country. The Brazilian numbers had been split between general tournament and media-specific numbers.

This total was down from 2,600 written press in South Africa four years ago – though Leiblang repeated that the numbers would rise before the end of the finals with further accredited journalists yet to arrive.

The photographers allocation thus far was 962 in total inclding 725 from abroad and 237 from Brazil.

Lifting the overall media sector total to 16,749 were 3,048 for host broadcasters and technicians and 10,044 in all for television and radio staffing.

Internet access was free in all media areas and all fixed positions in media centres and press tribunes had cable provision.

Leiblang also noted concern about no-shows on both sides of the World Cup media fence. Some accredited and ticketed journalists were guilty which was particularly hard to understand in the case of the knockout round where tickets could be requested only a few days in advance.

Similarly Leiblang regretted that some teams did not fulfil their FIFA requirements and bring a ‘starting player’ to pre-match press conferences. Delegations of the remaining teams were being reminded of that expectation.