Blatter has backup plan for 2010

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Sunday that he still believed in South Africa as the 2010 World Cup host.

But Blatter also revealed that Fifa had a plan B ready should worse come to worst.

Blatter told Austrian state broadcaster ORF that there were some concerns about infrastructure and security in South Africa.

He expressed his belief the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa will be the ultimate test-run and if that was not satisfactory, it would be time to look at alternatives.

“But at the moment an earthquake would have to occur to prevent the World Cup from being held in South Africa. However, I would be a negligent Fifa boss if there was no plan B in the cupboard,” Blatter
said.

“The World Cup is a logistical challenge. But where there is a will, there is a way.
South Africa wants to show to the world that they can
do it.”

Pressed to say when the time would be to take it away, Blatter said that such a time would only be after the Confederations Cup, if things
go wrong there.

Recent talks with trade unions in South Africa had ensured that work on stadiums and the general infrastructure was advancing well.

“They are building a lot. In two years we will be playing in new stadiums. They will be ready on time,” he said.

However, last week more than 500 workers involved in the construction of the Nelspruit World Cup stadium were fired after participating in an unlawful strike.

Blatter did not mention this fact during the TV interview.

The Fifa president said security would be an issue that has to be solved by politicians and officials.

“Security is an issue of the state. No sports body can handle that.

And in South Africa the standards will have to be higher than, say, here at the European Championships in Switzerland and Austria,” he said.

Blatter was to be one of several VIPs at the Euro 2008 final between Germany and Spain which was set for later Sunday.

The football supremo again defended his attempts to introduce the 6+5 rule, which stated that six players available for the local national team had to be played in each game.

“Big clubs seldom develop young players. They rather buy 12, 13 year-olds. That is trading children, it is modern slavery,” said Blatter who vowed to continue fighting for the rights of children.

“Football has become a monster, we have to regulate this monster.”

The 6+5 rule has already been questioned by the European Union, but Blatter said it needed to be introduced. “We are talking to all political stakeholders. They also believe that it must be possible to find a solution.”

The 72-year-old said that too many clubs were deeply in debt because of exuberant salaries and transfer fees. - Sapa-DPA

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