x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

World Cup Diary Day 16: No rest for the journalist in Brazil

Gary Meenaghan files from Brazil, where he details the toll daily reporting on the 2014 World Cup can take on a man.

RECIFE // Sleep often becomes a dispensable item during major sporting events such as the World Cup.

This week, courtesy of two successive red-eye flights, one of which doubled up as a bus and stopped four times on route to its final destination, a few hours of interrupted shut-eye were stolen in some original locations.

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Between Monday morning and Wednesday night, a grand total of five hours sleep were had, with the most uninterrupted period lasting a mere 210 minutes.

Those two and a half hours occurred on Tuesday night in Fortaleza, where, for the princely sum of R$100 (Dh166), a group of travelling American fans allowed a foreign journalist they had met the previous day in Manaus to rest on their sofa while they enjoyed their holiday in the room next door. An airport taxi was summoned at 4.30am.

After arriving in Salvador and being soaked to the bone by a deluge, an hour was snatched inside the media centre at Arena Fonte Nova.

Fifa knows only too well the demands covering a month-long tournament spread across a country as large as a continent can have on those reporting it.

Resultantly, they have rest areas, complete with bright yellow beanbags. Whoever created such a recuperation zone should challenge Sepp Blatter for the presidency. They are clearly wise.

After the Iran-Bosnia match, there was time for another short sleep in the airport, which is not necessarily an original location, but the temporary creation of a fan zone means travellers can zone out in front of a big screen while awaiting their flight.

An alarm was set, a black beanbag procured – again, give the creator a raise – and slumberland visited.

Bliss, for 90 minutes.


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