FIFA not deliberately keeping Blatter out of sight - TV boss


RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - FIFA's TV producers are not deliberately keeping images of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Brazil president Dilma Rousseff off screens, Niclas Ericson, the head of FIFA TV, said on Sunday.

The crowd at the Corinthians arena booed and jeered Rousseff when a shot of her cheering one of Brazil's goals in their 3-1 win over Croatia was briefly shown on the big screen inside the stadium.

The image of Blatter has often been booed at past World Cups when he was shown on the screen in the stadium, and this World Cup was noticeable for the fact there was no opening speech by either the country's president or Blatter before the start of tournament.

Asked whether it was a deliberate policy not to show their images, Ericson defended the "editorial decisions" taken by the production team responsible for the images both globally and in the stadium itself.

"The production team are focusing on what is happening on the pitch therefore the focus is on the football," he told reporters.

"Sometimes it is nice to have the VIP tribune and you saw at the first match - and it goes very fast.

"We have one feed that goes to the giant screen and one that goes to the world feed and so editorial decisions are made on the spot by the editorial team.

"Sometimes it will be more, sometimes it will be less."

The abuse directed at Rousseff, who is running for re-election in October, could not have been more explicit on Thursday but in a statement issued by her office on Friday she said she would not be intimidated by "verbal aggression" shouted by crowds during the World Cup.

She said the chants were nothing to compare to what she had to endure in jail during military rule when she was tortured.

"I won't let verbal aggression bother me," she said.

"I won't be intimidated by insults that children and families shouldn't be hearing."

Ericson also said that FIFA had not organised the World Cup for the benefit of the global television audience at the expense of the players' health, although some matches would be played in hot weather.

"Everything has been cleared by FIFA's medical experts and it has not been an issue at all for them," he said.

He also said the cumulative global TV viewing figures by the end of the World Cup are likely to be the largest ever recorded for any sporting event since the advent of television.

"We don't know yet exactly what the final figures will be yet of course but we expect an increase on the 3.2 billion reach that we had in 2010," he said.

He said viewing attendances for Saturday's match between England and Italy in Manaus were hugely satisfying for FIFA as the match was televised live so late in Europe.

"We have figures that 14.2 million watched on BBC in England and 12.8 million watched the match on Rai Uno in Italy, in the middle of the night in Europe so we are very happy about that."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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