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German Media Expand Coverage for World Cup


The 2006 World Cup football finals are the focus of attention for much of the media world. Nowhere is that more apparent than in host country Germany.

Christian Oeynhausen is a sports reporter for Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger the main daily newspaper in Cologne. It has a circulation of about 300,000.

He says usually the paper has three sports pages, but during the World Cup it is printing 12 pages of sports. And from what he can tell, the readers like it.

"We do not have any complaints," he said. "Normally the people like complaining and they call. If they like it, they do not do anything. So, so far we go on with 12 pages and we hope to do them with quality until the end of the tournament. And it is a lot, lot, lot more work than we ever expected."

Oeynhausen says virtually all the German media are providing special World Cup coverage.

"I think it is extraordinary. It is really extraordinary. We have not seen something like this ever before; not in the Olympics, not in the World Cup '74 [hosted by West Germany], or any other event you can imagine," he added. "It is really the greatest thing we have had in our journalistic lives. It is great to be part of it."

Oeynhausen said his newspapers sports department was granted four credentials for the World Cup by football's world governing body, FIFA. Two reporters were assigned to exclusively follow the German team, while the other two are covering the other countries. He is one of them.

Oeynhausen told VOA Sports how it was decided what teams he would follow.

"We made our plans concerning easy traveling, accommodations and perhaps special expertise on special teams, so my thing is like, I like African teams, and I do the rest, whatever is needed," he explained.

Oeynhausen explained why he likes the African football teams.

"I like their style of play," he noted. "I like their style of being able to do surprises. I like the chaos."

And the recent chaos has involved Togo, a team that fired its Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi in February, after losing their three matches at the African Nations Cup. He was replaced by Cologne-born coach Otto Pfister. But Pfister shockingly quit last Friday to support players' demands for bonus payments. Then he was back leading the team in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to South Korea.

Oeynhausen says its been interesting to follow.

"It is a typical African story, because what happened to the bonuses Togo got from FIFA for qualification?" he asked. "The players just asked for a part of the bonuses. They do not want to take the money from Togo people or anything else. They just asked for part of the money FIFA gave them and they earned it because they won the qualification, not the people in the [football] federation, so that was the problem."

Cologne reporter Oeynhausen says he thinks the organization of the World Cup tournament is going quite well.

"We were a little bit afraid how things would work, like the ticketing. Would the ticketing work? Would security work? Even, are the stadiums secure? Even the grass, which comes from the Netherlands, would it be fine enough? So far, okay, the grass, I saw some players slipping, but that is all. That is our only problem. Ticketing? The stadiums are full. Security? Fine so far. The stadiums? They are still standing. So, fine," he said.

And Christian Oeynhausen added that it is great for Germany to have so many visitors during the World Cup and to have the attention of much of the world.

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