Monday, November 26, 2007
FIFA boss Sepp Blatter had some interesting things to say at this weekend's 2010 Preliminary Draw in Durban, South Africa.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's qualifying draw for the 2010 Cup, Blatter said the World Cup could help solve the social ills of the hosts South Africa by acting as a catalyst for development.
"After having meetings with the organizing committee and local organizing committees, we are very confident that we are still going strong towards the realization of a wonderful event," Blatter told reporters in Durban.
Strikes have stalled building and renovation work on the 10 stadiums which will host the tournament.
But Blatter said he had spoken with some of the workers and was sure that any industrial disputes could be resolved.
"The World Cup is the biggest event in the world of sport and that's normal there are problems ... but all problems have a solution." He's an optimist, at least.
He also said the Cup could help alleviate some social problems, like apartheid and rampant crime.
"The Republic of South Africa has made a big, big effort twice to organize this competition. If a country is asking to organize a World Cup they know exactly what it means when they want to go in this big, big competition."
The killing of an Austrian tourist over the weekend in Durban has underlined fears over safety for visitors in a country where around 50 people are murdered every day.
But Blatter said such a crime could occur anywhere in the world.
"In a city of 3.5 million people, some crimes are possible like in all other countries. On Friday evening in a bus station or tram station in Zurich a young girl of 16 years old was shot ... crime is everywhere," added the Swiss-born Blatter.