By Keir Radnedge
South Africaâ€™s 2010 World Cup organisers have promised to resolve concerns over internet access for the media at the finals.
The promise to find a media internet solution â€œlong before the Confederations Cupâ€ next summer was issued by Dr Danny Jordaan, chief executive of SALOC, the local organising committee.
Earlier AIPS representatives, in Johannesburg at FIFAâ€™s invitation to review 2010 preparations, had objected to plans to charge accredited journalists for internet access in media centres and tribunes.
At the conclusion of discussions, Dr Jordaan said that the importance of the issue had been taken on board by SALOC. â€œWe appreciate that the media is a highly important constituent group of the football family and you must be able to carry out your work in the best possible conditions so as to spread the news of what we are doing around the world.â€
He said SALOC would also address a possible media discount on the price of the smartcard intended for tournament-long local and national travel facilities.
All rail travel was free to the media at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the European championship in Austria and Switzerland earlier this year. Internet access was also free of charge at Euro 2008 venues.
Discussions have also begun, to ensure that there is not a “lock-down” at stadiums to allow tournament partners a monopoly of venue networks. Journalists contracting with mobile providers other than official partner Deutsche Telecom were unable to connect from within the stadiums in Germany. This year, UEFA insisted on freedom of access to all mobile providers at their championship.
Hans Klaus, FIFAâ€™s director of communications, said the world governing body was â€œvery happyâ€ with the preparatory work and Horst Schmidt, FIFAâ€™s consultant to the local organisers, expressed his confidence that the organisers would deliver the stadiums to the necessary quality and deadlines. He said: â€œThere is no danger that the South Africans cannot deliver for either the Confederations Cup or the World Cup.â€
Jaime Byrom, of Match, confirmed that journalists should benefit from a 10 per cent discount on the projected price for accommodation.
Media accreditations have been set at 15,000, comprising 3,500 reporters and editors, 900 photographers and 10,000 broadcasting staff. FIFA has abandoned the concept of a main press centre. Each stadium will have a press centre, with the largest at Soccer City in Johannesburg (which will also stage the FIFA daily briefing). All will be hosted in prefabricated tenting rather than squashed in beneath the stands of a stadium.
The World Cup accreditation process will run between November and December 2009 with confirmations issued in January/February 2010 to be followed by ticketing requests. Accreditation and information will be issued via the FIFA website, media.fifa.com.
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