Call for truce as Brazil­ian me­dia scrum si­lenced by dour Dunga

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

BRAZIL is prob­a­bly the only ma­jor soc­cer-play­ing coun­try where re­porters can join in goal cel­e­bra­tions and in­ter­view play­ers as they fight on the pitch.

Dozens of tele­vi­sion and ra­dio re­porters stand on the touch­lines at games in Brazil, in­ter­view­ing play­ers sec­onds be­fore kick-off, at half­time and when they storm off the pitch af­ter be­ing shown a red card.

If a fight breaks out, they run onto the pitch and try and get a few quick quotes.

When a player scores, he will of­ten go straight to the cam­eras and mi­cro­phones so his cel­e­bra­tion can be broad­cast to mil­lions of lis­ten­ers.

Last year, Ron­aldo, play­ing his first do­mes­tic game in Brazil for 15 years, left the field with a black eye af­ter he was hit on the head by a mi­cro­phone and a tele­vi­sion cam­era in a me­dia scrum on the field at the end of the match.

Af­ter so long in Europe, he was shocked at find­ing re­porters on the field.

“I can’t an­swer ques­tions when I’m warm­ing up,” he said.

For the hun­dreds of Brazil­ian re­porters who are sent to the World Cup, the set-up, with no pitch ac­cess, can be a shock.

They have, how­ever, tra­di­tion­ally en­joyed ac­cess to play­ers which col­leagues from other coun­tries can only dream of.

Even at the height of a World Cup, Brazil would or­gan­ise a daily “mixed zone” in which the play­ers would walk along­side a bar­rier on their way back to the team bus, an­swer­ing ques­tions from the sev­er­al­hun­dred strong me­dia pack on the other side of the fence.

Al­though some­thing of a sweaty scrum, it gen­er­ally worked well. This World Cup, how­ever, has been com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

Coach Dunga has re­placed the sa­cred mixed zone with a daily con­fer­ence in which two se­lected play­ers trot out the usual cliches to a room of 400 re­porters.

He has even done the un­think­able and re­stricted ac­cess to train­ing ses­sions – of­ten broad­cast live in Brazil.

The new pol­icy has been es­pe­cially tough on ra­dio re­porters who have hours of air time to fill. Ra­dio is still hugely im­por­tant in Brazil, where many peo­ple still do not have in­ter­net ac­cess.

“We have to talk on seven pro­grammes ev­ery day and the hourly news bul­letins,” said Welling­ton Cam­pos, a re­porter from Ra­dio Ita­ti­aia.

“In the past, it was al­ways very open, not just for the Brazil­ians but also for for­eign­ers, you could choose the player you wanted to speak to. That’s over.”

This has led to ten­sions be­tween the me­dia and the team, es­pe­cially as Dunga has in­cluded the pow­er­ful Globo tele­vi­sion net­work – Brazil’s rights hold­ers – in his clam­p­down.

Four years ago, play­ers would take part in round ta­bles and give ex­clu­sive in­ter­views to Globo but, un­der Dunga, they are treated the same as ev­ery­one else.

Ten­sions boiled over af­ter Sun­day’s win over Ivory Coast with an ex­change be­tween Dunga and a Globo jour­nal­ist dur­ing the post­match press con­fer­ence.

Brazil­ian me­dia said Dunga was then heard to swear un­der his breath at the re­porter.

Globo later crit­i­cised the coach’s be­hav­iour and has since re­fused to use his name, re­fer­ring to him as “coach of the Brazil­ian na­tional team”.

The fol­low­ing day, there was an­other ex­change when play­maker Kaka claimed that he was be­ing crit­i­cised by out­spo­ken colum­nist Juca Kfouri be­cause of his re­li­gious be­liefs.

Af­ter be­ing asked a ques­tion by Kfouri’s son An­dre, also a jour­nal­ist, the Real Madrid player said: “Your fa­ther is tak­ing pot shots at me be­cause of my faith. I ask that he re­spects me and the mil­lions of peo­ple who be­lieve in Je­sus Christ.”

With the bat­tle set to con­tinue, Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win­ning coach Luiz Felipe Sco­lari sug­gested a truce.

“In the World Cup, we have to put up with each other,” he said. “The best thing is to work to­gether, and when the World Cup fin­ishes, each side can tell the other to go to hell.” – Reuters

TESTY: Dunga

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.