The Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™ met in Johannesburg on Thursday and afterwards a media conference was held, with the body’s Chairman Issa Hayatou joining FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Local Organising Committee Chairman Irvin Khoza to discuss a number of subjects ranging from the success of South Africa 2010 to refereeing. Here are the highlights of what the three men had to say.
Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA President
On how the 2010 FIFA World Cup has gone
I’m very satisfied. We are about to have new world champions. I’m delighted to point out that fair play has been king at this tournament, as proved by the statistics for injuries and cards. That shows that the players respect their opponents. In addition, around 500 doping tests have been carried out on urine and blood samples and none have come back positive. Another piece of good news is that there has been a growing interest in the tournament on the part of the public: the fan fests here and abroad have attracted huge crowds, FIFA.com has been generating a lot of traffic and television audiences have been enormous. Africa can be proud and it has to be said that the organisers have done a great job.
It’s a question of trust: we trusted Africa from the very first day. I’ve always defended the initiative of bringing the tournament here and look at the results: the stadiums are real gems and no country in Europe can boast as many stadiums of the same standard. This has been an example for future construction efforts to follow.
I'll remind everyone that the Laws of the Game are the responsibility of the International Football Association Board. The Board is going to reopen the file on goalline technology. There will be a meeting on 20 July in Wales during which the subject will be placed on the agenda for the meeting in October.
On the Final
We hope that Nelson Mandela will be able to come. It would be a superb symbol: he held the Trophy in his hands in May 2004 and it would be a great moment if he were to hold it again.
Issa Hayatou, Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup Chairman and FIFA vice-president
On the success of the event
The crowning moment will come on 11 July. We are witnesses to history being made. Before kick-off, a lot of media outlets thought this event would be a failure and yet everything or almost everything has gone well. I’d therefore like to thank President Blatter for believing in Africa; he had the courage to give this competition to the continent. I think this sounds the death knell for past prejudices: Africa can do things like this and it makes me proud to have been behind a great tournament.
On the performance of African teams
We regret that five of the six African teams were eliminated in the first round, but it’s not the end of the world. Plus, Ghana represented the continent very well by coming so close to reaching the semi-finals.
Irvin Khoza, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Local Organising Committee Chairman
On the success of the event
FIFA trusted us and until now everything has worked out very well. There haven’t been any major problems. We’ve been working in partnership with FIFA since 2004 and that’s been the recipe for this success. The figures show that this has been one of the most successful World Cups ever and I’m very happy about that. We’ve shown that we have the capacity to organise big events and that can only give us confidence for the future. At least a million tourists came to South Africa in the month of June alone and that figure speaks for itself.