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15 September 2008

FIFA boss expects successful World Cup in South Africa

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Sunday he had no doubt that South Africa would host a successful World Cup, adding there was no 2010 plan B.
“The plan B is South Africa and the plan C is South Africa,” Blatter told a media briefing after meeting President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria.
“We are informed and monitoring all the work and we have no doubt that when it comes to stadia, when it comes to the logistical organisation, that everything will be done.”
Blatter is heading a four-day FIFA delegation to South Africa to inspect venues and meet political leaders, including former president Nelson Mandela.
The cup would give South Africa, which has a high levels of violent crime, as a legacy of being identified as a safe country, he said.
“Most of the criticism now is that it is not secure (…) but you go to big cities anywhere in the world (…) tell me where you have 100 security? It does not exist.”
Both Blatter and Mbeki said a change of government in next year's elections would not affect the cup preparations.
“I'm saying quite firmly that we are on course with regard to meeting our obligations,” Mbeki said.
“It doesn't matter what happens here with regard to whatever the political challenges, this country will meet its commitments to FIFA to (…) ensure that we have a very successful 2010 FIFA soccer world cup. That will happen.”
Mbeki was responding to a question about a court judgment last week in which it was implied that his government had meddled in corruption charges brought against Jacob Zuma, tipped as South Africa's next president and whom Blatter will meet on his trip.
The court ruling led to widespread debate over Mbeki's future in weekend media.
Blatter said he had a special dedication and love for Africa, where football was “more than just kicking a ball.”
A World Cup in South Africa would show that Africans were able to host the FIFA event, he said. “It is justice to South Africa for what Africa has given to the world of football.”