Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 16:00 UK

World Cup 'safe' from SA turmoil

Fifa president Sepp Blatter meets South African football stadium workers
Fifa boss Sepp Blatter was in South Africa earlier last week

World football body Fifa has said it is confident that changes to the South African government will not affect the nation's hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

Eleven members of the South African cabinet say they are resigning along with President Thabo Mbeki.

Among them is deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi, who is in charge of finances for the World Cup.

But Fifa says it has been in talks with African National Congress boss Jacob Zuma, a possible future president.

Show must go on

Mr Mbeki is to leave office on Thursday after accusations that he interfered in the prosecution of Mr Zuma on corruption charges.

"This is something we are watching very closely," said Fifa's director of communications and public affairs, Hans Klaus.

"[Fifa president] Sepp Blatter has been in touch with Mr Zuma's people, as well as those of Mr Mbeki, in the past week.

"Both of them, as well as Nelson Mandela, agree the World Cup must go ahead.

"What has happened in South Africa is not what we would have expected, but we don't want to comment on the political situation - we work with the local organising committee board."

Interim government

Mr Moleketi chairs the 2010 Technical Co-ordinating Committee, which is overseeing the new physical and transport infrastructure ahead of the football tournament.

But Fifa said if Mr Moleketi did not agree to carry on in the role under a future government, then it was confident the post could be passed smoothly to a new incumbent without seriously holding up work on the infrastructure.

Mr Klaus also said Fifa would be making contact with the intermediate South African government, under Kgalema Motlanthe, which will run the country until new elections next year.

"There are some government people on the local organising committee who may change, but this has been the situation in previous World Cups, we are not too concerned at the present," Mr Klaus said.

"If new people come in we think they will soon become familiar with their roles."

Earlier this month, Sepp Blatter said that he was pleased with progress and was "convinced once more and determined once more that this World Cup in South Africa will be a great World Cup".

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