Blatter says South Africa will host World Cup as planned

November 14, 2006

BERLIN, Nov 14 (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter once again dismissed fears that the next World Cup could be moved from South Africa and said the 2010 hosts were further along at this point than Germany was four years ago.

'They'll get it done,' Blatter was quoted as telling German magazine Sport Bild on Tuesday. 'It can and will take place in South Africa -- I'm convinced of that. And that's what we're working for.'

Rumours have circulated in the media for months that FIFA was looking for an alternative host country -- possibly the United States or Germany -- because of concerns that South Africa had fallen far behind in its preparations.

'I've seen more at this point than I did in Germany,' Blatter said of South Africa's preparations.

'There were still a lot of uncertainties in Germany four years before the World Cup there,' he said. 'Down there, they only have to build five stadiums and renovate one more. Four are already there.'

Blatter also dismissed fears of high levels of crime in South Africa.

'There is crime everywhere around the world. But when you know where it is you can take the necessary precautions.'

He also said transport infrastructure in the country should not pose problems.

'They have a good infrastructure of technology, communications and transport,' Blatter said. 'Of course they don't have the same number of rails as in Europe. But they are improving and renovating their transport infrastructure.'