S'AFRICA 2010 WILL BE A SUCCESS â€“ BLATTER
FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, spoke to journalists in Zurich on Saturday on the forthcoming World Cup, the first to be hosted in Africa
On the 2010 FIFA World Cup
When I became president in 1998, my greatest goal was to see the FIFA World Cup played in Africa. It would never have been possible without our rotation policy. It's taken a long time, but ultimately it means justice for Africa, and for everything Africa has done for football in the past. This FIFA World Cup will be a success.
Our priority is the fight against poverty, illiteracy, and health care problems, which we're tackling with our 'Football for Hope' initiative.
Threat of match-fixing
We established the 'Early Warning System' (EWS), which has done a huge amount to help in this respect. The EWS cooperates with official betting organisations, and the system has been progressively extended, after liaison with UEFA and the German FA, and with support from Interpol.
Significance of the FIFA Word Cup finals
The thinking behind the FIFA World Cup finals is not simply to organise it where it's easiest. A World Cup belongs to the whole world, it belongs to all players.
We have no doubts whatsoever in our ability to organise a secure tournament. Eleven million tourists visit South Africa every year, so why should people stop coming because it's the World Cup?
Legacy to Africa
FIFA on its own cannot bestow any kind of legacy. We need support and commitment from governments. Two years ago, we met the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London. They supported us in promoting education and upbringing. They committed to invest USD 1 million in schools and education.
African players moving abroad to Europe
Our 'Win in Africa with Africa' project is aimed at helping smaller nations establish professional or semi-professional leagues, so that players there can also live from football at least to some extent. The African Football Confederation (CAF) has also launched CHAN, a tournament only open to players active in Africa. These two initiatives should prevent African players simply fleeing the continent.
African teams' chances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup
African players are at least as talented as players from Europe and South America. The only things they occasionally lack are tactics and consistency. It'll be hard for them at the FIFA World Cup, because there are only six African participants, but there are 18 teams from Europe and South America, so they have an advantage. I do think the world of football would like to see an African team in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals. Remember Cameroon in 1990 or Senegal at the 2002 finals. The FIFA U-17 World Cup has been won five times by African teams, and Ghana recently won the FIFA U-20-World Cup for the first time.
Culled from Fifa.com