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FIFA: SA not yet ready for SWC

2010-02-23 18:43
Jerome Valcke (Gallo Images)

Sun City - FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says South Africa isn't ready yet to host the World Cup, and he still doesn't know where all the teams will be based during the tournament.

With barely three months until the event starts, organisers still face problems with Soccer City - the incomplete Johannesburg venue for the opening match and final - and filling stadiums.

"If the question is 'Could we host the World Cup tomorrow morning?' the answer is 'no'," Valcke said on Tuesday after a team workshop meeting in Sun City.

"At this stage, we couldn't play the World Cup because Soccer City isn't ready. At this stage, we couldn't play the opening game. That's a fact. At this stage, we have 700 000 tickets still to sell, at this stage I can make a list of things that aren't ready for the World Cup.

"We have 108 days - it seems short, it is short, but even if we have to stay awake all night, every day, we will be ready by the time of the World Cup."

Valcke's comments came after a feisty exchange with reporters about the state of several training camps. FIFA had wanted the list of training camps for the 32 finalists completed on Tuesday, but those plans have been derailed by teams still changing their plans ahead of the June 11 - July 11 event.

Germany coach Joachim Loew is concerned about the training facilities at the team's base in Velmore hotel outside Pretoria and will visit there on Wednesday.

"We haven't seen major progress so far," Loew said.

England is ready to sign the contracts with the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, with coach Fabio Capello confident that the training pitches there will be improved in time for the finals.

Capello led of a high-level delegation featuring Valcke and top officials in African football which inspected the facility on Monday.

"We checked everything and it improved a lot from the last time we stayed here," Capello said. "The pitches are good and will be better for June. The hotel is really, really nice and the medical center will be ready in two months. I'm really, really happy because it's the third time I've stayed here and the facilities are fantastic.

"We visited four different places and this was the best."

Valcke is also frustrated that England's Group C rival Algeria is yet to decide where it will be based. South Africa announced on Sunday it had been forced to move from a base that was badly rundown.

Meanwhile, South Africa's tourism ministry has ordered an investigation into allegations that hotel prices are unreasonably high during the tournament.

The probe into hotel prices follows an investigation announced last month into whether South African airlines are colluding to inflate prices during the World Cup.

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