Friday, September 5, 2008

Blatter to Visit South Africa Next Week

While most of the world is in qualification mode for the 2010 World Cup, the host country South Africa is also in 'qualification mode.'

FIFA president Sepp Blatter visits South Africa next week and organizers of the 2010 World Cup are confident the head of football's organizing body will like what he sees.

There's been talk of moving the World Cup from South Africa to another country more prepared to handle it, like the United States or Germany. So this visit by Blatter and his cronies takes on a significant measure of importance.

Will they like what they see? Will they deem the country fit to host the biggest sporting event in the world?

Blatter begins a four-day visit to South Africa September 14, during which he'll visit World Cup facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) chief Danny Jordaan said.

"We have made tremendous progress and we hope to showcase this progress to him during his visit," Jordaan told journalists while wiping sweat from his brow.

While the news that FIFA might move the World Cup startled the local organizing chiefs, they're sure FIFA will like what they see this week.

"We are confident that we can host the competition. Long before 2010 all the (10) stadia for the competition will be ready," Jordaan said, adding that an expected change in government next year will not affect the game hosting.

General elections are scheduled to be held next year in South Africa.

Approximately three million tickets will be sold for the 2010 World Cup in which 32 teams will participate, the LOC head of legal and tickets department, Leslie Sedibe, said.

A total of 120,000 complimentary tickets will be handed out to FIFA and LOC officials as well as "builders" of the stadia, he said.

The World Cup, will be preceded next year by the FIFA Confederations Cup, to be staged in four stadia across South Africa from June 14 to 28 next year.

The draw for the Confederations Cup, will be made on November 22 this year and the tickets will be put on sale five days later, he also said.

An estimated three million people will be at the stadia for the World Cup's 64 matches while 30 billion people across the globe will watch the matches on the television, organizers said.

South Africa, which budgeted 30 billion rand (3.8 billion dolllars/ 2.6 billion euros) to host the World Cup, has recently requested a supplementary budget of three billion rand to meet the rising cost of materials from the government, Jordaan said.

"We have engaged government on a 10 percent increase on the World Cup budget. The increase is due to the effects of the global economy and the rising costs on our budget, including the rising cost of diesel" he stated.

MY POV: As I've stated before, it would be devastating to African football should FIFA move the Cup from South Africa. I'm more than confident Blatter and his henchman will like what they see next week. They better ... why wouldn't they??

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