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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Mbeki rejects 2010 finance fears
Mbeki (left) with Kofi Annan and Sepp Blatter (front row), with Caf boss Issa Hayatou  (back row, right).
The official logo for the 2010 World Cup was launched on Friday

South Africa president Thabo Mbeki says fears that his country is not financially or logistically equipped to host the World Cup in 2010 are unfounded.

Mbeki said South Africa will fulfil all of Fifa's requirements for hosting the event, which will be held in Africa for the time.

"We engaged in detailed discussion about what Fifa expects of the host country and that included matters of financial guarantees," he said after talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday.

"So we have done all the sums and all the calculations and we are quite satisfied that we will be able to meet these obligations."

Concerns have been voiced about hosting the world's biggest sports event in a country battling with high crime and lacking in adequate transport infrastructure as well as hotels.

South Africa also needs to upgrade existing football stadiums and build new ones, as the sport lived in the shadow of rugby during the apartheid era.

The country is budgeting US$770m for stadiums and a further US$1.1bn to upgrade airports and the public transport system.

Mbeki insisted that the "technical, logistical base for 2010 is quite strong" and said that this year's budget already contained provisions for the World Cup.

He added that South African officials have spent months in Germany learning from the current World Cup, adding that the German organisers have offered to come to South Africa to help plan the next one.

"Franz Beckenbauer and the others in the German organising committee have said that as soon as the tournament is over here they are ready to help us prepare for 2010.

"The experience of hosting the cup here in Germany is critically important for us and in this context we will be able to solve problems. We have to draw a great deal from what has happened in this country."

Mbeki said it was not true that South Africans would not be able to attend the football championship in their own country because they are too poor.

"You will be surprised at the number of South Africans who are here now, who have paid the airfare, bought the tickets and are staying in hotels. They will have the money in 2010."

Mbeki is attending the final between Italy and France in Berlin on Sunday.

SEE ALSO
Mbeki makes World Cup pledge
07 Jul 06 |  African


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