Following his participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Team Workshop in Sun City, South Africa, on 23 February, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke held a press conference alongside Danny Jordaan, CEO of the tournament’s Local Organising Committee. He fielded a variety of questions relating to the gathering, which was attended by 19 of the national coaches involved as well as delegates from every one of the 32 qualified teams.
On the workshop
This workshop was aimed at coaches and backroom staff, and because of that it brought us back to the essence of football, back to the pitch, which can only be a good thing. Together we discussed many different issues; team representatives told us what’s working well for them and what’s not. For our part, we updated them all on the rules. To sum up, there was much exchanging of views, which would seem to me to be extremely beneficial in advance of the FIFA World Cup.
A week ago, I took part in a round table discussion with journalists in which I said that some tickets originally reserved for FIFA partners had been sent back to us, that there was a chance we would see fewer supporters travelling from abroad this time around and that we are currently working on recategorising certain tickets. This was then interpreted by some as “FIFA cuts ticket prices”, which is quite simply wrong. The economic downturn has left no area of the world untouched. That’s why tickets earmarked for our partners have come back to us and why it is therefore a logical step to proceed with a recategorisation of tickets.
Up to now, we have made 11 per cent of Category 4 tickets (editor’s note: the least expensive category) available to South African residents and our aim is to reach 20 per cent. We committed ourselves to this increase some time ago – since the preliminary draw in Durban in November 2007 – because we want the largest possible number of South Africans to be able to attend the matches. That said, we’re not going to be chasing after potential spectators and we won’t ever hand out free tickets just to make sure the stadiums are full, I can guarantee you of that. We will do everything in our power to help fans to come, but tickets will not be free of charge.
Among other subjects, we touched on security arrangements. We have a meeting scheduled with the chiefs of police of the 32 qualified nations, as well as with teams’ heads of security on 4 and 5 March in Zurich. This is the first time this has been arranged and is a very positive development.
On other discussions of note
We also talked about doping and eradicating illegal betting via the “Early Warning System” that flags any suspicious movements and calls for extensive cooperation between countries and even Interpol. This system has been in place since 2006 and is working well. Our objective is to rule out any possibility of illegal betting during the FIFA World Cup. Our goal is the same when it comes to doping and refereeing problems. On that point, I confirm that there will be no additional referees nor use of video technology during the event. These are currently being studied, but our refereeing trios have been preparing assiduously for two years and will be completely ready when the time comes.
On the progress of pre-tournament preparations
There is work to do but I would also point out that there are still 108 days left before the big kick-off. Of course there are challenges ahead, but I’m confident that we will have overcome them by 11 June.