BLOEMFONTEIN - The world's media were
left stunned on Saturday after England's news briefing for
Sunday's World Cup clash with Germany lasted barely five minutes
and featured only questions taken from British TV reporters.
More than 250 journalists from around the world plus around
30 TV crews packed into the media tent at the Free State Stadium
for the briefing with England coach Fabio Capello and captain
Reporters, many of whom had travelled long distances to be
at the briefing, left in anger after the FA's Head of Media
Adrian Bevington took only eight questions from hand-picked
Giancarlo Galavotti, football correspondent of Italy's
Gazzetta dello Sport who has reported on English football from
London for more than 25 years, told Reuters: "That was typical.
They do not seem to appreciate this is the World Cup, with the
emphasis on the word 'World'.
"The idea that the English set-up is not the friendliest
among the top teams is reinforced by this sort of arrogance.
"And this, despite the coach being able to answer in three
languages: Italian, English and Spanish. The FA do not seem to
think the rest of the world is important."
Jorge Luiz Rodrigues of Brazil's O Globo newspaper was
stunned by what he saw.
"That was bad. This is the World Cup. This guy doesn't know
what the World Cup is. He only asks for questions from his
friends. This is not professional.
"If you go to Brazil you will have questions in English,
Spanish, Portuguese, Italian.
"All the journalists have the same opportunity. And Brazil
is five times champions, not once."
Bevington told Reuters afterwards: "We complied fully with
FIFA's regulations by bringing the coach and a player, our
captain, to the conference.
"Furthermore, and as agreed with FIFA, we had a further five
minutes with English newspapers and a further five minutes with
In the five minutes access allowed to the wider world,
journalists learnt that manager Fabio Capello knew his team -
which he did not reveal - and that skipper Gerrard was
confident of victory.
Platitudes delivered, Bevington declared after five minutes
and 12 seconds: "OK, everybody, thank you very much. I would
like to invite the English Sunday newspapers to join us in a
One reporter sarcastically clapped and with that the England
delegation swept out of the room.
Although German coach Joachim Low failed to appear before
the media on Saturday, he did speak to them for 45 minutes on
Friday and the German FA, at least, gave reporters the chance to
quiz goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke for 30 minutes on their
preparations for the game.
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