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Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:15 UK

World Cup 2010: Dunga takes on Brazilian press

Brazil coach Durnga has kept his distance from reporters
Brazil coach Durnga has kept his distance from reporters

By Daniel Gallas
BBC Brasil, Johannesburg

This has been a very unusual World Cup for Brazilian journalists.

As at previous tournaments, Brazil has one of the largest press packs - about 700 in total. But unlike during other World Cups, the media coverage has grown into a story of its own.

Much of it has to do with coach Dunga's new approach towards journalists.

The Brazilian press is used to having almost total access to managers and stars of the team - but Dunga, a fierce critic of the media, has made radical changes.

Players have been told not to give exclusive interviews and he has closed access to most of Brazil's training sessions. Both moves are unprecedented in Brazilian World Cup history.

Four years ago in Germany, journalists were granted access to players every day, with interviews after each training session.

Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos were even interviewed live by national broadcaster Globo TV at 0200 in Germany, so that they could be on the network's prime-time news programme back home.

After Brazil got knocked out of the tournament, there was much criticism of the effect the 24-hour news cycle had on the team.

In Dunga's first meeting with journalists after arriving in South Africa, press officer Rodrigo Paiva made an appeal for journalists to avoid a "Big Brother" approach towards the team.

"Do we all really need cameras pointing from the roof of the building towards player's windows for 24 hours every day?" he asked.

Creative writing

Journalists have had to adapt to a new routine of press conferences with only two players put up per day, closed training sessions and no more exclusive interviews.

Brazilian team training session
Brazil's closed training sessions have led to bogus rumours in the meida

Fans have also been excluded and, so far, Brazil has only held one public training session - the mandatory minimum under Fifa rules.

A week after arriving in the country, Dunga said that "about 300 Brazilian journalists are just waiting for the Selecao [team] to lose".

He added: "I know I am being criticised for the excess of closed training sessions, or because I don't go out for dinner with a privileged few. It has more to do with my personality than with my work."

Tensions have run high at press conferences. After the 2-1 win over North Korea, Dunga challenged one of the journalists following a question about Robinho's good performance.

"Last year, when he was playing for Manchester City, many people didn't want Robinho on the Brazilian team," Dunga fired back. "You were one of them, remember?"

About the closed training sessions, he said: "Don't you guys complain about the player's [lack of] creativity? Now it's time for you to be creative and create something to write about."

'New fantasies'

Inevitably, journalists have been trying to get around Dunga's new rules. Even during closed training, cameras have snapped long-distance images of the players.

Brazilian reporters await a news conference by Kaka
No other country takes as many reporters to the tournament

This has led to misinformation, including speculation that substitute Josue - pictured training in a first-team shirt - was set for a recall against Ivory Coast in place of injury doubt Gilberto Silva.

In fact, Gilberto Silva played for 90 minutes against Ivory Coast and Josue never left the bench.

"I am not a fireman and I will not take out the fire that you guys, or some of you, have set," Dunga told journalists.

"Whoever wrote that owes an apology to his reader, because every day a new fantasy is created to terrorise the fans."

Juca Kfouri, a Brazilian journalist from Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper working in his seventh World Cup, says there are excesses on both sides.

"Dunga chose the press as his enemy. He needs this confrontation to work well and he has passed this on to his players," says Kfouri. "He has purposely created this belligerent situation."

On the other hand, Kfouri believes Dunga has the right to hold closed training sessions.

Robinho on side

Crucially, in these tense disputes between Dunga and journalists, players have sided with the coach.

Brazil player Robinho in a news conference
Even Robinho has kept largely silent

"[Jose] Mourinho does basically the same thing Dunga is doing. Some coaches are more open to the press, and others are less. We have to respect that," says goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Robinho is the only one to have given an exclusive interview two weeks ago, but he has refused to do it again.

At one press conference, a journalist asked Robinho - who usually enjoys talking to the press - if he would not prefer to "jump over the wall" and have a chat with journalists.

"We will have plenty of time for coffee after the World Cup," the player replied.

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see also
Referees must be tougher - Elano
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dunga demands better from Brazil
16 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Brazil
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010

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