World Cup Technology

06 Dec 2001
As the minutes tick away to the final draw, Sepp Blatter, FIFA's president, feeds the 5,000 media and sports personnel with the obvious — the first World Cup to be staged in two countries, the first to use more than 20 stadiums and media centres, the first to be held in Asia — and lesser facts — such as a cumulative worldwide audience over the course of the tournament that is likely to top 50bn, compared with 35bn in France three years ago. The rise is due to the qualification of China, and the fact that this is the first World Cup transmitted live on the internet. 
 
Watching from the side are Gerard Gouillou and Albert Hilber, FIFA's joint heads of IT projects and the men charged with making sure everything goes alright on the night. 
 
Mr Gouillou was in charge of FIFA's IT operations in for the previous World Cup in France three years ago, which he admits, was relatively easy compared with the task ahead. "In France, we had one technology and telecoms provider in France Telecom, and in one country. Here, we have many different suppliers across two different countries."