It could have ended quite badly for South Africa. The first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup almost didn’t get the chance. Earlier this year, FIFA prez Sepp Blatter, the most powerful man in soccer, told the media that his organization had an alternative plan should South Africa not be ready to host in 2010. He cited concerns about security, infrastructure, and construction projects as the reasons for having a plan B.
But yesterday Blatter opened his mouth again. This time he had good news for South Africa: “There definitely is no plan B or C. The only plan is to make the South African event a success.” The tournament will undoubtedly be a huge boost for South Africa’s tourism industry. Security concerns and lagging construction projects are still problematic, and there is still the risk that bad press during the event could kill any buzz the World Cup could bring to the country. But Blatter’s promise not to move the tournament is a huge step for S.A., which can now focus on hosting duties, not on kissing FIFA’s ass.