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Last Updated:[28-01-2010 03:53:07 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

FIFA and SA Allay Fears over World Cup Security

tradenews The president of South Africa (SA) Jacob Zuma and the FIFA's secretary general Jérôme Valcke at separate occasions informed there was no security threat to the forthcoming football (soccer) World Cup (WC) to be held in SA this year in June and July months. Zuma said this at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos while Valcke was responding to the censure by British and German media over granting the WC to an ‘unsafe’ African country.

At WEF, Zuma again downplayed concerns over security, which was sparked off by the recent deadly attack on Togo footballers in Angola. On the other hand, he stressed the mega event offered great business opportunities for investors to showcase their merchandise.

According to the FIFA, 2mn tickets have now been sold, around two-thirds of the total that will be available. The third ticketing sales phase, which will conclude with a random draw for oversubscribed matches on 1 February, saw a total of 1,206,865 applications from 192 countries.

In the wake of the attack on Togo players at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, many famous football personalities as well as the English and German media have been making concerted effort to brand SA as an unsafe destination. In response, Valcke on the premise of nowhere is safe in the world, argued "Where can we organize the World Cup? On the moon, where there is no one?"

Franz Beckenbauer, the former West Germany captain and coach who won the WC in both capacities, has said slow ticket sales were due to doubts over the cost and security. Likewise, the manager of Hull City, an English Premier League club, Phil Brown, has said the Angola incident put a "question mark" over the WC.

The FIFA blamed both the media and the football personalities for making potential investors and spectators to panic over the eagerly awaited global event of the year. Valcke urged the media to stop publishing articles such as, the WC is the biggest mistake by holding in SA, don’t fly to SA – it is dangerous and so on.

Zuma as a rebuttal to the criticism said that no security breach has ever happened in previous international sporting tournaments hosted by SA. He expressed confidence by saying that SA was truly ready for business and football fans from across the globe.

The SA president told that what happened in Angola would not happen in SA as the former had just emerged from a war. He informed his country was prepared for the big event with the backing of its police force, army and other security elements.

By Jose Roy

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