Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 20 News List

FIFA sees Brazil as backup for 2010 World Cup: report

AFP , MADRID

FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, is in talks with authorities in Brazil about staging the 2010 World Cup there should South Africa be unable to host the event, a Spanish sports newspaper reported on Thursday — though Brazilian officials denied the claim.

“The South American country, which was chosen to organize the World Cup in 2014, has become the first option if South Africa is not able to organize” the 2010 edition, the sports newspaper AS said.

“FIFA has informed the South African government of its decision to consult the [Brazilian Football Federation] on the possibility of organizing the next two tournaments,” it said, without indicating its sources.

South African organizers remain confident of the nation’s readiness for the first soccer World Cup to be held on the continent, despite delays in the construction of stadiums.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) denied the claim, with CBF press secretary Rodrigo Paiva insisting there was no possibility of such a scenario emerging.

“The story is ridiculous, there is zero chance,” Paiva said.

South Africa’s World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) also dismissed the report.

“There is no substance to it whatsoever,” Danny Jordaan, CEO of the LOC, was quoted as saying by national news agency SAPA.

“Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. South Africa will host the 2010 event,” Jordaan said.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitted last month that he has a Plan B organized should the country be unable to host the event.

“I would be quite negligent as president if I did not have a Plan B tucked away at the back of a drawer,” he said.

“But only a natural disaster would make it active,” he added, pushing aside doubts over security and possible construction delays.

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