(WFI) With eight matches of the 64-game tournament played, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is attending only his second match after watching Brazil’s thrilling win over Croatia.
Today the Swiss was booed as the big screen showed him taking his seat at Switzerland’s match against Ecuador in Brasilia. According to reports, long queues also prevented some fans from taking their seats before kick-off.
Meanwhile, at the daily FIFA media briefing in Rio, officials were asked why Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, leading politicians and heads of state, as well as Blatter, were rarely being shown on big screens at World Cup stadiums.
Images of Blatter and South African president Jacob Zuma were frequently flashed up on big screens at the 2010 World Cup, apparently editorial decisions as part of the TV productions.
Today, FIFA’s director of TV Niclas Ericson failed to fully explain why images of Brazil’s leading politicians and the FIFA chief do not appear to be key elements of 2014 World Cup match broadcasts.
He said the TV production team’s main focus is on the football, although “sometimes it’s nice to have shot of the VIP tribune”. “But it goes very fast and remember we have one feed to the giant screen. So many editorial decisions are made on the spot… sometimes more [of the VIPs] sometimes less,” he added.
However, it was clear today and at the Confederations Cup, where Rousseff and Blatter were also the subject of booing and crowd abuse, why TV editors may have been instructed not to highlight the presence of certain VIPs at Brazil 2014. The anti-government and anti-FIFA protests that swept the nation during the Confederations Cup and in recent months have made the likes of Rousseff, Blatter and sports minister Aldo Rebelo hugely unpopular here.
INSIDER is told by a Brazilian TV journalist that when Rousseff was shown celebrating Neymar’s penalty in the opening match at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians – the only time she was beamed up on the screen – large groups of fans from the host nation were heard hurling strong abuse in her direction.
INSIDER in the Mixed Zone
Spain captain Iker Casillas’s goalkeeping gaffes in his team’s 5-1 humiliation against Holland ensured he was on many of the front pages of Spanish newspapers yesterday. It was sweet revenge for the Dutch, who were beaten 1-0 defeat by Spain in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa. Friday’s hammering was Spain’s worst defeat since 1963 when Scotland beat them 6-2 in a friendly.
Madrid sports daily Marca labelled it “a historic catastrophe”, El Mundo splashed the headline “Humiliation”, while El Pais went with “World disaster”.
Glum-faced Casillas and his teammates were in no mood to talk to the British press in the mixed zone at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova, although they spared time for the Spanish press. INSIDER’s question to several Spanish players “What went wrong tonight?” and appeals by other journalists to get a comment in English went unheeded. The Dutch stars of the night, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben who both scored two goals, also made themselves unavailable to the British press pack.
Only Dutch substitute Dirk Kuyt stopped to talk. Describing the Dutch demolition as “an incredible performance”, he said the display showed Holland had some of the best players in the world up front.
Asked by INSIDER what coach Louis van Gaal had said at half-time, following a period largely dominated by Spain, he denied that the new Manchester United manager had come down hard on the players to spur them on to victory.
“He’s just like he always is, he’s a world-class coach. He just said what the team had to do like he always does. We are very happy with the coach. He did a great job and the players did a great job as well,” Kuyt said.
Speaking about the Dutch fans at the stadium – the oranje army – he told a group of reporters: “They are like our secret weapon. At the world championships, the European championships… it doesn’t matter where it is, South Africa and now Brazil, they are everywhere, they are orange and they are helping us.”
Empty Seats Explanation
FIFA tells INSIDER that the swathes of empty seats at the Spain v Holland game “has nothing to do with sponsor tickets”.
“Sponsors had to confirm their inventory to purchase already by end of January 2014 and not taken tickets went into public sale as of February,” FIFA’s head of media Delia Fischer said.
“In fact the empty seats you saw were caused by general public tickets which were either not collected or so called no shows from general public due to whatever reason.”
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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