World Cup screens to be erected across Germany
20 January 2005, HAMBURG - Not all German football fans will get tickets for the 2006 home World Cup, but they will at least be able to watch the 64 games on giant screens all over the country, television rights holders Infront announced on Thursday. Infront said in a statement at its headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, that it had come to an agreement with the ruling body FIFA to allow public viewing free of charge not only in the 12 World Cup host cities, but in the entire country. "There will be no licens
20 January 2005
HAMBURG - Not all German football fans will get tickets for the 2006 home World Cup, but they will at least be able to watch the 64 games on giant screens all over the country, television rights holders Infront announced on Thursday.
Infront said in a statement at its headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, that it had come to an agreement with the ruling body FIFA to allow public viewing free of charge not only in the 12 World Cup host cities, but in the entire country.
"There will be no license fee charged for any non-commercial public viewing events across Germany," Infront said in a statement.
"This would include non-commercial activities conducted by cities, communities, schools, churches, local clubs and bars, ensuring the widest range of viewing opportunities."
Infront said that those with a commercial interest in broadcasts (such as cinemas, theatres or stadiums) will have to pay a licence fee which will then be passed on entirely to SOS Children's Villages, FIFA's official World Cup charity.
Initial plans said that organisers outside the 12 host cities would have to to pay a fee to Infront if they wanted to broadcast games at the 9 June to 9 July 2006 tournament.
That led to protests from German politicians and football officials, who want the entire country to celebrate the World Cup.
"Infront and FIFA have always intended for public viewing to enjoy the widest access in Germany to help foster the celebration of the FIFA World Cup. We believe these decisions - announced 18 months prior to the event - should resolve any uncertainty in the eyes of fans," Infront said Thursday.
The news was welcomed by FIFA boss Joseph Blatter.
"FIFA is pleased that such a solution has been found for public viewing in Germany. The situation is now clear and I wish that the speculation of the past few weeks end now," said Blatter.
Earlier Thursday, in an interview with Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau daily, Blatter named the public viewing events one option for the many German fans who will fail to obtain a World Cup ticket once the sales begin on 1 February.
"Germany placed the World Cup under the motto 'a time to make friends'. If you invite friends you have to open the doors as well," Blatter said, asking for understanding from German fans that not all their ticket requests would be met.
"Some 30 million of the 80 million Germans will probably want a ticket. That is not possible."
Earlier in the week organising committee head Franz Beckenbauer also said that not every German fan will be served.
"If I reflect on the number of times I've been personally asked for tickets, we must assume demand will massively exceed the supply we have available," Beckenbauer said.
There is no general preferential treatment for German fans when the first 850,000 out of 3.2 million tickets go on sale for the 64 matches in 12 cities via the official website, www.fifaworldcup.com.
But not all tickets are for the general public as the figure includes the quotas for VIP guests and the media.
Applications will not be processed chronologically, but rather via a lottery. Ticket prices range from EUR 35 to 600, with some EUR 200 million expected in income from the sales by the organising committee.
The organising committee and FIFA will give details about the exact sales process at a news conference on Monday.
Subject: German news