World soccer governing body Fifa expressed its concern on Tuesday about this month’s deadly attacks on foreigners in South Africa, but said the violence would not affect the 2010 World Cup.
At least 56 people were killed and tens of thousands displaced when rioting mobs attacked immigrants with knives and stones, burning shops and homes to the ground in townships during attacks that began in Johannesburg and quickly spread to other provinces.
The attacks have raised concerns about the high crime rate in South Africa and the potential risk to foreigners who visit the country for the soccer tournament in 2010.
”We took note with concern the latest development in South Africa,” Fifa president Sepp Blatter told a news conference in Sydney, where Fifa is holding its annual congress this week.
”This is terrible … we are concerned about it and we deplore [what happened].”
Blatter said the violent incidents had been discussed by the Fifa executive board but they were confident the situation was under control and said there was no thought of moving the tournament elsewhere.
”We are deeply, deeply concerned but nevertheless the executive committee again expressed confidence in the South African government,” he said.
”We trust them, I trust them, and we will do this World Cup 2010 definitely in South Africa.” — Reuters