Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Enemy Within: An Update on South Africa's Preparations

South Africa's working hard to get itself ready for the 2010 World Cup.
The last thing the organizers need is a lack of focus from their partners.

This week, a scorching document proclaiming South Africa’s inability to stage the 2010 World Cup, which supposedly emanated from Europe's football governing body UEFA, was denounced as a forgery by Local Organizing Committee CEO Danny Jordaan.

“We have written confirmation of this from UEFA itself,” said Jordaan at a media briefing following a meeting of the LOC’s Board of Directors at Safa House in Johannesburg.

“What is more,” he added, “we have established the scurrilous document originates from within South Africa and is designed as a desperate attempt to derail our preparations for the World Cup by parties who are known to us.”

Jordaan, however, refused to name the alleged forgers.

Strange indeed. Why would someone try to derail the preparations for the World Cup? Whose interest does this serve?

On a happier note, The Board of Directors expressed satisfaction that the overall preparation for the 2010 World Cup and FIFA’s Confederation Cup in 2009 remained on track.

At the meeting, which was attended by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, an update on preparations for next month’s World Cup qualifying draw were also released — with the general secretary declaring it would be “of the highest level”, while attracting 3,000 assorted officials and media representatives.

LOC chairman Irvin Khoza said reports received after last week’s FIFA inspection tour of venues in four of the 2010 host cities were “very positive.”

“The last month has been very active for us at the LOC,” said Jordaan, “but also very rewarding. We have had an assortment of visitors extending from the Inspection team to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Franz Beckenbauer — and everyone came to the same conclusion that we are doing very well.”

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