Monday, November 26, 2007

Update on FIFA Chief's World Cup Comments

A quick update on comments made earlier by Sepp Blatter regarding crime and safety in South Africa.

Seems the Austrian tourist killed this weekend in Durban and mentioned near the bottom of my earlier post was former soccer player Peter Burgstaller.

German newspaper Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung reported on its web site that the murdered ex-SV Salzburg goalkeeper had been invited to the preliminary draw in Durban this weekend by Germany's Franz Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as a player and coach.

"The murder of Peter Burgstaller is very depressing," current German coach Joachim Loew was quoted as telling German sports news agency SID.

"There is crime everywhere but we're going to put the security issue near the top of the agenda ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Everyone knows there is enormous poverty and crime in South Africa. We're going to have to be prepared for that," Loew said.

Burgstaller died from gunshot wounds suffered on a golf course near Durban on Friday, reviving the concerns over high crime rates which have dogged South Africa's preparations for the tournament. Police said the motive for the shooting, which took place on an estate surrounded by an electric fence, was thought to be robbery.

"I just want to say how much we deplore that a tourist from Austria was shot dead on a golf course. We deplore that as we would deplore all death or casualties in any country," Blatter said. "This tourist was not a member of the delegation coming for the draw and to make a parallel between FIFA's presence here and this death is not right. In a city of 3.5 million people some crimes will happen as they would in many other countries. On Friday evening in a tram station in Zurich a young girl of 16 years old was shot."

Unfortunately, South African crime will continue to be an issue as the Cup gets closer. In some ways, shining a light on the crime issue is a good thing. South Africa can deal with these problems and other countries can help out, now that their interests are affected.

Still, let's hope this isn't the main crux of news coming from the country. Optimism should be the word of the day. As the official World Cup saying goes, "Celebrating Africa's humanity," not "Exposing Africa's Negatives."


Shoghi said...

What is going to happen is that the SA state will be urged to take drastic action against the gangs and others who are causing all the violent crime. Problem is alot of innocent bystanders will be caught up in the increased violence. Once the WC fades away the gangs will come back and the military police tactics that might subdue them during the games will go the way of the WC and become history. Look for decreasig levels of violence in the year before and during the cup and for that level to increase dramatically right after. Not that anyone will care at that point. Hopefully writers such as yourself will.

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