Shaka chaos not their problem

2010-07-08 21:40

Johannesburg - Both world soccer body FIFA and the 2010 Organising Committee on Thursday washed their hands of the chaos at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

LOC chairman Irvin Khoza said the body was not taking responsibility for the congestion at the airport which led to about 700 soccer fans missing the World Cup semi-final between Germany and Spain in Durban on Wednesday night.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told a press briefing in Sandton, Johannesburg: “I want to make it clear that this problem had nothing to do with FIFA.”

Khoza told journalists: “The problems that occurred were not down to the LOC. It was not our fault. We are sorry it happened but we cannot be held responsible for aircraft not landing in Durban.”

Khoza blamed a "knock-on effect" for flights having to be sent back to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport.

“Apparently there were heads of state and charter flights in the air at that time and we had a corridor of 50 minutes that had a knock-on effect that caused the problem.”

Valcke stressed the organisation would not pay any compensation to fans for abandoned flights and match tickets.

Spain won the game 1-0 and would play Holland in the final at Soccer City on Sunday night at 19:30.

King Shaka Airport

Khoza stressed that apart from the problem at the King Shaka Airport, the World Cup had gone smoothly.

“We as South Africans can be proud of what we have achieved. We have vindicated the trust and faith that FIFA and president Sepp Blatter had shown in our country by hosting what with only two matches to play a highly successful World Cup... one of the most successful ever staged.

"Every match was played on schedule and we look forward to a great final and an exciting play-off (for third and fourth place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday).”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said his faith in Africa's and South Africa's ability to host the greatest sporting event in global sport had been vindicated.

“I always had confidence. I never doubted that Africa and South Africa would succeed in staging a truly memorable World Cup and that faith has been justified.

"We are expecting record attendance figures and television viewership worldwide by the end of the final on Sunday night.”

Blatter announced that 500 doping tests had been taken from players in the 32 teams that started the tournament on June 11, and all were negative.

“There can be now no more talk of doping in soccer.”

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