The world’s media were left with their jaws on the floor yesterday, when England’s press briefing (before their systematic dismantling at the hands of Germany) lasted barely five minutes – and featured a meagre amount of questions fielded only from hand-picked British journalists.
More than 250 journalists and around 30 television crews from around the world had assembled in the media tent at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, in anticipation of the pre-match briefing with England coach Fabio Capello and captain Steven Gerrard.
However, most of the reporters (many of whom had travelled considerable distances in search of their ‘quote’) were left to file out of the tent in anger after the FA’s head of Media Adrian Bevington took only eight questions from carefully selected reporters.
Giancarlo Galavotti, Gazzetta dello Sport‘s London-based correspondent for more than 25 years, was one of the disillusioned majority and believes that the England camp’s latest press snub is indicative of their intrinsic arrogance.
Speaking to Reuters, Galavotti said;
“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 Brazilian daily O Globo agreed with Galavotti’s damning sentiments;
“That was bad. This is the World Cup. This guy [Bevington] 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 himself defended the abrupt briefing by insisting that the FA had adhered to all the necessary stipulations involved;
“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 FIFA.com.”
During the meeting Capello divulged his starting XI and Gerrard spoke of his misplaced confidence, before the England media team were sarcastically clapped off the podium after only 5 minutes and 12 seconds.
Sack ’em! Sack ’em all!