FIFA wants everyone to know that they're happy with South Africa's preparations ahead of the 2010 World Cup, no matter what anyone may think ...
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said that there are still issues to be resolved ahead of the first-ever African World Cup, but that the mood was still positive.
"I think we should forget this question now," Valcke said, asked about the possibility of another country stepping in. "It's been a lot of work since May 2004 and I think there is still a lot of work until June 14 2009 [when South Africa hosts the Confederations Cup] and the 2010 World Cup.
"I think it's a lot of issues and we have to make sure we are working on them all the time. The main issues are security, transportation, accommodation, overlay; it's all what you need to host a World Cup. It's normal, because there is not a single country ready 18 months prior to the World Cup. When we had the Confederations Cup in Germany, it's where we discovered that lots of things were not working. There is no question that it was the right decision to bring the World Cup to South Africa."
The CEO of the World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Danny Jordaan thinks that although South Africa has experienced problems, they're getting there.
"Firstly, we are focusing on the Confederations Cup," he said. "These are existing stadiums, however there is still a gap between the existing stadiums and the event requirements. So we are focusing on that to make sure that by the end of December, all of the four stadiums for the Confederations Cup are fully compliant with all requirements for the event; and then [making] sure all of the stadiums are complete by October next year and also then to focus on the final draw on December 4 next year."
Valcke hinted that the 2018 tournament could be given to a "rich" country, possibly from Europe. The 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil, which probably means it isn't a 'rich' country.
"I have a feeling that Germany tomorrow morning could host the World Cup. Because they have a very strong professional league, stadiums are ready, so there are a few European countries [who] will not have to spend as much money as South Africa is doing or as Brazil will have to do because there is not a single, what we call, World Cup stadium in Brazil.
"And they will have to provide us with these stadiums and work on them. Again, I have the feeling that there will be competition, I would say between five to eight countries, bidding for 2018.
"These will come from four confederations as Africa and South America will not have access to 2018. It will be potentially the so-called 'rich' countries, where there is already the infrastructure we need to host a World Cup."
MY POV: The more I listen to these FIFA cronies talk, the more I wish they'd be quiet.How condescending of them to talk about giving the 2018 World Cup to a 'rich' country?
How about just letting events play out and letting the citizens of South Africa enjoy the process of the 2010 World Cup?
More and more, it feels like FIFA has absolutely no confidence in South Africa. It seems like they're wringing their hands clean of the 2010 Cup, rueing their decision to give the 2014 Cup to a poor country like Brazil and focusing on the 'cash money' bonanza of the 2018 Cup.
USA 2018 anyone? The more you hear FIFA bellow, the more it sounds like they'd hold every World Cup in the USA and England if they had the chance ...
It's all about the money, isn't it? How stupid of me to believe it was about more than just the cash ...