The German city of Baden Baden achieved worldwide fame when the England team - and their glamorous wives and girlfriends - were based there during Germany 2006.
The extravagant shopping trips of the English WAGS, as the players' partners were famously known, did wonders for the Baden Baden economy and the WAGS certainly received their fair share of newspaper column inches during what was a memorable World Cup.
As the Ministerpresident of the State of Baden-Wurtemberg,
Gunther Oettinger, today (August 28 2007) visited South
Africa's 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee chief
executive Danny Jordaan, he said the Germans "had a great time
during Germany 2006 and we hope you will have this experience as
well in 2010".
Oettinger visited SAFA House to share some of Germany's experiences, but also to offer support as South Africa prepares for 2010.
Baden-Wurtemberg - Germany's leading science and industry
State - enjoys strong economic relations with South Africa and its
exports in goods such as automobiles and automotive parts,
machines, paper and publishing has contributed greatly to Germany
being South Africa's third largest trading partner.
With a delegation comprising of German business, government, education and media representatives, Oettinger's visit to South Africa was to further extend political contacts, initiate a number of co-operation projects in sport and education, to support the G8 Initiative for Africa and also to offer aid in South Africa's preparation and organisation of the 2010 event .
During Oettinger's visit to the 2010 headquarters Jordaan gave him an update on South Africa's 2010 preparations.
"I'm very happy to be here," said Oettinger,
adding that "Danny Jordaan is the Franz Beckenbauer of African
football and the face we will see in 2010 when the African World
Cup presents itself to the world".
"I am grateful to meet you in the heart of South African football, Johannesburg, which will see the opening game and final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. All those who are football fans and are on their way to becoming football fans will see Johannesburg in 2010. It will be the world capital of football and the media. If we can with our limited experience be of any help we will certainly offer it," Oettinger told Jordaan.
He added that as late as a few days before the 2006 FIFA World
Cup Germans did not know what to expect, but after a hugely
successful tournament they are still reaping the benefits over a
"South Africa can trigger the world's interest with this event. Industries such as tourism and culture will benefit and for decades will profit from what is taking place in South Africa now," said Oettinger, before inviting OC representatives to Euro 2008 in Austria to gain experience in aspects such as infrastructure and logistics.
Jordaan told Oettinger that South Africa would be the first
developing country to host the modern-day FIFA World Cup and that
the infrastructure gap to deliver the World Cup is much bigger than
a developed country such as Germany.
Therefore, South Africa was developing infrastructure not only with the World Cup in mind, but also with the long-term development of the country's economy in mind.
"This event must be successful. No-one will be associated with failure in 2010. Failure is not an option. The responsibility of success rests heavily on our shoulders. Therefore, we welcome the offer to work together," Jordaan said as he addressed the delegation.
The President of reigning Bundesliga champions Stuttgart, Erwin
Staudt, was also part of the delegation and said he was "very
impressed" with the status of South Africa's 2010
"I am very interested to see how far your progress is and what the issues are. I learnt a lot and more than ever I am convinced that this is the right place for the next world championships," said Staudt.
The German delegation's visit followed that of Italy's
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Massimo
D'Alema, to SAFA House recently. On his visit, D'Alema also
offered Italy's support to South Africa as it prepared to stage
the 2010 tournament.
"My feeling is that you're a country able to face many difficult challenges. It is a very serious challenge to deliver a very complex event like the FIFA World Cup. But we can see you're ready. Congratulations and good luck. We're sure the world championships in 2010 will be very successful," said D'Alema during his visit.
Ian McCartney, the United Kingdom's Minister of State for Trade, also recently met Jordaan to offer the UK's support to South Africa.