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Blatter: World Cup Will Take Place in South Africa

FIFA president Joseph Blatter has said that the World Cup will certainly take place in South Africa and that world soccer's governing body also had a contingency plan for Germany in 2006.

Sepp Blatter, left, with South African President Thabo Mbeki

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, right, has given his assurance South Africa 2010 will proceed

In an exclusive interview with DPA news agency, Blatter said the organization had two countries that could jump in at a late stage if a natural catastrophe made it impossible to hold the World Cup in South Africa.

"It is always good if you look ahead, but we are not questioning whether the World Cup will take place in South Africa (in 2010)," he said. "The IOC has just now decided that the IOC session in 2011 will be held in Durban. That was a historic decision and it is a confirmation in our confidence for the World Cup."

The 72-year-old said that he would not reveal the countries that could stage the World Cup if South Africa was unable to host the competition.

"Both are non-European countries," he said. "We can't return to Europe. But to reiterate, there have been so few natural catastrophes south of the Sahara. There are other catastrophes, but not natural ones.

"Of course we also had a contingency plan for Germany, but a European country," he added.

Blatter said that he would go on record as saying that the World Cup will take place in South Africa unless a natural catastrophe occurred in the country.

Getting South Africa going

The new King Senzangakhona Stadium in Durban, South Africa

Organizers maintain South Africa is on schedule to deliver 2010 World Cup

Blatter admitted that the rumors South Africa might lose the World Cup were not all bad.

"It did not cause any harm, as there is some action there now," he said.

He described South Africa as a country with a different rhythm.

"Sometimes people there are a bit laid back," he said. "I did not want to start the rumors and did not say it like that, but it was interpreted in such a way and that did no harm."

The FIFA boss reaffirmed his belief that the World Cup in South Africa will be one to remember.

"There are a few problems, such as electricity," he said. "The World Cup has led to a boom in the construction industry and that, in turn, has led to a problem with the supply of electricity."

FIFA boss's career staked on South Africa success

Most people credit Blatter with having brought the World Cup to South Africa and many believe that his personal legacy is closely aligned to the competition.

"If it is a successful World Cup, FIFA has won," he said. "If not, Blatter has lost. In soccer, you lean to win, that is easy. But you also have to learn to lose.

"If the World Cup in South Africa is not a good one, others will have to decide what my fate should be. I have been voted into office till 2011."

He said that he was confident that nothing could go wrong with the organization of the first World Cup in Africa.

"It will be a good World Cup with a new dimension," he said. "It will have a new rhythm, new colors."

Blatter did not want to say it would be better than the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"The World Cup in South Africa will be different," he said. "You will not be able to repeat the summer fairytale that Germany was."

Soccer security always a worry

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The Swiss national said that he did not have sleepless nights over the security aspect of the World Cup.

"If I worried about that, I could never sleep as so much happens in soccer," he said. "Every day there is a report that a player has died or a coach. There are 260 million people in soccer all over the world, as many as there are in America.

"I am worried about security ahead of every FIFA competition," he said. "Today's world has problems. Something can happen anywhere in the world. Security problems occur wherever we play soccer.

"We are aware that security is a specific problem in South Africa, that it occupies us and that even more it occupies the South African government," he said. "Together we will have to find a way that security is ensured. But we can't ensure this security.

"That is a matter for the South African government," he said. "But if you know where the devil sits, you now how to meet him. However, I am no security expert and I do not know where the devil sits."

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