Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bangladesh boosts World Cup coverage and power

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has reportedly intervened personally to more than double the media coverage of next month's World Cup in Bangladesh. Journalists of the South Asian nation, originally granted only four accreditations, asked Blatter to help when he opened last month's AFC Challenge Cup in Dhaka. "It's really encouraging for us. The presence of increased numbers of Bangladeshi journalist at the tournament will help soccer fans in the country to know more about their favourite teams," Anwarul Haq, general secretary of the Bangladesh Football Federation, told Reuters.

Millions of football fans in Bangladesh stay up late at night to watch World Cup matches on television and newspaper circulation rises during the tournament as the country's 140 million people look for news of their favourite teams.

Authorities have even ordered the state-run power company to ensure minimum disruption to power supplies during the telecasts. "The Minister for Power Iqbal Hassan Mahmud yesterday asked the Power Development Board officials to ensure maximum and uninterrupted power supply during the World Cup," said Iqbal Hossain, the minister's press officer. Bangladesh faces an average daily shortfall of 700-800 megawatts and that can rise to 1,800 megawatts, or nearly half the current production capacity.

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