The first-ever football (soccer) World Cup in Africa be will hosted by
South Africa in 2010. As a tune-up for football's premier event, South
Africa is staging the eight-team Confederations Cup. It features the
champions of the six confederations - Spain, Brazil, United States,
Iraq, Egypt and New Zealand - plus World Cup champion Italy and host
South Africa. It is giving the host nation a chance to test its
readiness for next year's World Cup. Sepp Blatter, president of the
International Football Federation (FIFA), met with the media in
Pretoria after the first two rounds of games to assess the tournament.
is no doubt that FIFA president Sepp Blatter is disappointed by the
number of spectators in the stands to watch some of the world's best
players and teams at this Confederations Cup. While the opening match
last Sunday in Johannesburg between host South Africa and Iraq was
close to a sell-out, many seats have gone empty for games in Pretoria,
Rustenburg and Bloemfontain.
if FIFA might give away free tickets to help fill the stadiums, Blatter
said while it is not a principle to give tickets away, FIFA does offer
them to those unable to purchase them. He added having many empty
seats should not be an issue for the 2010 World Cup.
you will not have this problem, because we expect up to 450,000 or
500,000 visitors from the different countries in the world, and the
ticket sales for next year's World Cup are already on a good scale,"
Though the stadiums have not been filled for this
Confederations Cup, you would not know it from the noise at the venues,
which has been consistently loud throughout every match. That's
because of the blaring chorus of vuvuzelas, which are plastic horns.
Sepp Blatter says, at least for now, there are no plans to ban them.
know that television companies have been a little bit worried. They
have been criticizing these special sounds because they are overlapping
their normal commentators sound," Blatter said. "This is a technical
matter. It's not up to FIFA to go and say, 'Stop now. Don't make any
noise in a football match.' I can not say that."
Traffic delays fans
fans have been delayed getting to their seats in time for the kickoffs
because of traffic and road conditions. Blatter himself experienced
some delays en route to the Brazil-United States match.
know the traffic problem we have is because they are preparing the
roads, so they have all the traffic practically on one lane because
they are working for the World Cup," he said. "And I'm sure these
problems will be, must be, solved, because during the World Cup there
will be more traffic than there is now."
Kudos to FIFA
Blatter said all of the eight teams have, so far, complimented the organizers on a well-run Confederations Cup.
the other side, I have to say also visiting the stadia, visiting the
cities, before going to the stadia, the general ambiance is very good,"
Blatter said. "And football, the World Cup - unfortunately they want to
call it soccer here, I don't know why; soccer because here is rugby at
football stadiums, not soccer ones - so we are satisfied."
Finally, Sepp Blatter is confident that South Africa will be able to have a competitive team by the 2010 World Cup.
year they have for the preparation for the team to mature, then I can
assure you that this team will be a very good team next year in the
World Cup," Blatter said.
Blatter added that it is always good
when a host nation progresses far in the tournament to help maintain
interest among the home spectators. But he said it also helps if the
quality is good among all of the participating teams.