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Blatter: There's indescribable anticipation

FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter looks on during the FIFA Congress Executive Committee Press Conference
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Following the conclusion of the two-day FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke held a press conference on Monday 7 June.

Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA President*On the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™
*We find ourselves in a position of indescribable anticipation. Everywhere you go, you can practically feel that the big kick-off is not far away. This FIFA World Cup is particularly special because it is the first to be held on African soil. But more importantly, this competition will prove that South Africa, and the African continent in general, is capable of organising an event of this magnitude.

On the 60th* FIFA Congress
*As FIFA President, I am delighted, because none of our 208 member associations have requested any form of internal changes at FIFA. The Executive Committee has put forward some minor changes to our rules and statutes, to bring them in line with reality. But the football family is currently a happy one.

*On unity in the global game
*Following the Executive Committee meeting, I can assure you that, while there was plenty of discussion, unity came out on top each time. It is present throughout the football family, and also within the bodies that govern our sport. This was perhaps not always the case, but that all belongs in the past. Many things have changed since my election in 1998. Today unity prevails in the world of football and it is something of which I am very proud.

We find ourselves in a position of indescribable anticipation. Everywhere you go, you can practically feel that the big kick-off is not far away.

*On referees
*We and the IFAB convened in March and in May for the Annual General Meeting and a Special Meeting respectively. We arrived at the conclusion that, in order to properly apply the Laws of the Game, the principle of one on-pitch referee and a maximum of two assistants should be maintained. However, the use of technology was not ruled out completely; it is simply on hold for now. We gave the go-ahead for further experiments with additional assistant referees, as per the tests last season in the UEFA Europa League. While those results were inconclusive, we were able to draw certain positives from the trial. Hence our desire to prolong the experiment for the two forthcoming seasons in any championship around the world that wishes to take part.

*On refereeing at South Africa 2010
*We also confirmed that the fourth official will not in any circumstances be able to consult a replay screen. However, he will be able to become directly involved should the main referee request his assistance. Finally, I would like to underline that FIFA has complete confidence in the referees taking part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They represent the 33rd team in this competition and are, just like the 736 players, the best in the world.

Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Secretary General*On the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
*The decision was taken to move the date of the Preliminary Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup to July 2011, from its usual December slot. The aim of this ruling is to allow certain confederations to begin their qualifying matches a little earlier, in line with the first dates on the 2011/12 international calendar.

*On the bidding process for hosting the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups
*The main point of interest is that the FIFA Executive Committee has formally accepted the principle of member associations co-hosting the tournaments. We received joint bids from Spain and Portugal, as well as from Belgium and the Netherlands. We have gone through the two bids and both of them involve just one, unified Local Organising Committee. In Korea/Japan in 2002, there were two separate Organising Committees, which gave the impression at times that there were two different World Cups taking place. Having been reassured that we would not find ourselves in the same situation again in 2018 or 2022, the principle of a joint bid was approved.

*On stadium attendances in South Africa
*I believe that we will end up selling between 95 and 97 per cent of available tickets. We are still selling at least 5,000 tickets per day at the moment. With the return of some unsold tickets, the demand is even higher. I cannot say that all stadiums will be completely full, but what I can say is that the tournament will be incredible.

*On designating the host countries of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups
*Each of the nine candidates will have the opportunity to present their bids to members of the FIFA Executive Committee on 10 June. In addition, three to four FIFA observers will put themselves at the disposal of each delegation and will accompany them for ten days during South Africa 2010. Their objective will be to help the bid teams to understand what organising such an event actually entails. I should reiterate that each candidate country will be treated equally every step of the way, until the final decision later this year, which will be made on 2 December.

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