KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS**: FIFA hopes to have positive news shortly, perhaps even later this week, for journalists impatient to learn about their applications for accreditation to cover the Confederations Cup in Russia in June.
The world football federation has a well-practised media events formula but problems and delays have occurred while the Russian organisers and authorities put in place their own visa assistance systems in coordination with embassies and consulates.
AIPS has been contacted by a number of members concerned that, without confirmation of accreditation, they have been unable to book flights and hotels. The shorter the ‘window’ of time the more both prices and availability rise.
It is understood that security checks have been completed and that virtually all accreditation applicants will be approved.
FIFA managers are also growing increasingly impatient to confirm their own project logistics in terms of travel and accommodation.
Hopefully, once the Russians have their own systems similar problems will be avoided next year ahead of the much greater media demand for World Cup finals tournament itself.
The draw for the eight-team Confederations Cup took place in Kazan last November with World Cup holders Germany placed in Group B alongside South American champions Chile, Asian Cup holders Australia and Africa’s Cameroon.
In Group A, Euro 2016 winners Portugal will play hosts Russia, CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico and OFC Nations Cup holders New Zealand. Russia and New Zealand will contest the tournament’s opening match on June 17 at the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg, with the final due to be staged at the same venue on July 2.
Matches will also be played in Moscow, Sochi and Kazan.
FIFA has been staging the Confederations Cup since 1997. Previously, two editions took place as the King Fahd Cup. Germany will be taking part for the third time. In 1999 they went out in the first round before finishing third in 2005.
Brazil have triumphed at the last three tournaments, held in 2005, 2009 and 2013, while Mexico – Confederations Cup champions in 1999 – are the only 2017 contestants to have won the competition previously.
** Keir Radnedge is chairman of the Football Commission of AIPS, the international sports journalists’ association.