'Trust SA to host 2010 SWC'

2008-08-21 10:50

Beijing - Fifa President Sepp Blatter said the football world should trust South Africa to host a successful World Cup in 2010.

South Africa's preparations have been hit by overruns in stadium construction costs, but the country's government has said that all venues are on track to be completed before the December 2009 Fifa deadline.

There has also been unease over the general security situation with the republic's high crime rates, but Blatter said he has been assured that measures would be in place to ensure the safety of football fans heading to the republic to watch the tournament.

Blatter said he will head a Fifa delegation to South Africa next month to talk with the country's president Thabo Mbeki, the leader of the African National Congress Jacob Zuma and the tournament organising committee.

He will also visit several cities where World Cup matches will be played and hopes to also to meet with South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela.

"The objectives of the delegation will be to reassure ourselves with the work that the local organising committee of the 2010 World Cup is doing," Blatter told at press conference on Thursday.

'Trust them'

"But we also to make sure that when general elections are held next April that the outgoing and the incoming governments are all behind this organisation.

"I can tell you that they are able to organise the World Cup, they will do it, there is a movement to say 'trust South Africa to organise the World Cup, trust them.'"

Blatter also played down security concerns for those at the 2010 World Cup.

Official government statistics indicate that at least 50 murders are committed in South Africa every day and the annual murder rate is running at over 19 000 in a country with a population of some 47 million while more than 50 000 rapes are reported every year.

"When you speak about security (in South Africa), you give me one country in the world where security is at 100% sure? It is not possible," Blatter said.

"We know that in South Africa that it's not the best, but if you know where the devil is then you know also how to take measures against that.

"The legacy of this World Cup should be that it's not only about South Africa football being better identified throughout the world, but the legacy should also be that the republic of South Africa is a stable and secure country and football would have given something exceptional not only to the African continent but to this country."

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