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02 May 2007 16:23
Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday that he had no doubts that the 2010 Soccer World Cup will take place in South Africa short of a natural disaster.
“I have no doubts, not one single doubt,” Blatter said, adding that he would publicly proclaim the world governing body’s confidence in South Africa’s ability to organise the event at Fifa’s congress from May 29.
“Seven [South African] ministers will be there. I will confirm in front of the whole congress that South Africa will organise the World Cup,” he told journalists.
Fifa’s executive committee gave the South Africans their full backing in March, following months of doubts caused by initial delays in building work for new stadiums and infrastructure.
However, Blatter touched off a controversy by pointing out in an interview on Monday that there were fall-back options for the World Cup in the United States, Mexico or Japan in the event of an emergency.
Blatter underlined on Wednesday that contingency plans existed for all major Fifa tournaments, wherever they were meant to be held.
“We’ll go to South Africa because they know how to do it, but we’d be badly off if there was a weather or natural disaster somewhere—we have to be prepared.”
Fifa officials underlined that the 2003 Women’s World Cup was held in Germany, replacing chosen host China at short notice because of the outbreak of the Sars respiratory disease in Asia.
China is hosting the event this year.
Similar plans have existed before.
Countries earmarked as possible emergency hosts must have enough existing stadiums and infrastructure to handle the 32 nations, fans, TV and media coverage at short notice.—Sapa-AFP
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