National News

Blatter leaves SA

2010-07-15 15:18

Johannesburg – FIFA president Sepp Blatter has left South Africa.

The FIFA media department confirmed that the football body president left the country on Wednesday, having arrived at the beginning of June.

The man whose security detail in the country matched that of a president, left the country happy, pronouncing the 2010 World Cup a resounding success.

He awarded South Africa a whopping nine of ten for its efforts, a score above the 7.5 the country scored after hosting the Confederations Cup in 2009 – seen as a litmus test for the World Cup.

Regarded as a hero

Ordinary South Africans hailed him as a hero after he announced in 2004 that the country had won the right to host the world's biggest sporting event.

But, as the tournament neared and Blatter's grip tightened, this relationship deteriorated, culminating in reports of him being booed at the opening and closing games of the World Cup.

This was after reports emerged of key guarantees the government had to agree to, to host the World Cup.

The City Press reported that Sars was "forced to accede to an extraordinary 'tax bubble' around 'FIFA-designated sites' which exempts FIFA, its subsidiaries and foreign football associations from paying income tax, customs duties and value-added tax".

Disenchantment

Media controls, stringent trademark rules, pricey tickets and complicated ways to procure them all added to citizens' disenchantment with the football body.

However, despite the scepticism from the international community and the media, which blighted the country's journey to the World Cup, Blatter remained steadfast in his belief that South Africa could host it successfully.

This prompted President Jacob Zuma to announce at a post-World Cup briefing that Blatter had been "vindicated" by South Africa's successful hosting of the event.

"Our hosting of this historic FIFA World Cup on African soil vindicates Mr Blatter's strong conviction that we were capable of delivering a spectacular and successful event," he told journalists.

Vuvuzela

Blatter also vigorously defended the use of the vuvuzela, after the droning instrument raised the chagrin of international football players and fans.

He urged visitors to "adapt", saying the instrument was "part of African soccer culture".

Blatter departed on Wednesday with an estimated $3.2bn from the tournament. Exact figures would only be available in FIFA's next financial report.

His attention would no doubt now turn to the next World Cup, Brazil 2014.

Read more on:    sepp blatter  |  jacob zuma

 

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