FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke took time out after a board meeting with the Local Organising Committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ to discuss event preparations with local and foreign correspondents. He addressed matters ranging from the current situation in Zimbabwe to stadium constructions to the social responsibility programme.
He was very complimentary on the work and commitment of the South African government to the project, telling journalists that they "have really been doing what they need to be doing and what they promised to do".
Valcke reiterated his desire to see a strong South African national team, especially at next year's FIFA Confederations Cup. "For a tournament it is better that the (host) team can play at the highest level. When the national team plays well, it creates something special," he said.
Zimbabwe was on the agenda of the world's press, and Valcke was compassionate to the challenges the country faces. He said that FIFA was an apolitical organisation but added: "There was a declaration by the AU and the G8 and we will wait to see what is resolved at the UN. This crisis needs to be resolved before it gets worse for the people, especially when they are forced to move in masses."
FIFA has, to date, installed three quarters of the artificial pitches to which they committed and by 2009, all 53 African countries will have one. Valcke was very upbeat about this project, along with the Official Campaign, ‘2010 Centres for 2010', and the ‘Football For Hope' Programme. "It is unbelievable the energy this good work is creating," he told journalists. "It creates a movement for positive change. "
Valcke was also so impressed by Soccer City that he insisted on visiting the flagship stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. "You feel proud for South Africa that the country has such a great, beautiful stadium which is very impressive," he said, stood in the shell of the iconic venue. "The stadium is moving."