Television

30 billion viewers expected to watch World Cup

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MUMBAI: More than 30 billion people around the world are expected to tune in to watch the 2006 Fifa World Cup in the course of the month-long tournament.

A report in Sapa-AFP indicates that channels across Asia are eagerly awaiting the opportunity. The television ratings forecast expect a huge boost as compared to the event four years ago.

While the boost is probably due to the tournament being in Europe, where soccer is akin to a religion, a lot of Asians will tune in this time.

Meanwhile a report in the Financial Times indicates that a radical plan to restructure international football has been prepared for top European clubs. This envisages the World Cup being held every two years.

The proposal, called Grand Slam World, is part of a presentation commissioned by the G-14 grouping of European clubs - a collection of the 18 richest sides in Europe - by Hypercube, a Dutch consultancy.

Another option called Grand Slam Euro will see continental tournaments, such as the European championship, also held every two years, while a possible World Cup for clubs would be contested every four years.

Making the World Cup, which starts in Germany on Friday, a biennial event is the most radical of four options outlined in a 36-page presentation.

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