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FIFA Eager Not To Call $1B Net Gain
From World Cup "A Profit"
FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke said that the organization expects this summer's FIFA World Cup in South Africa to "generate a net gain of $1[B] in income thanks to commercial deals but is eager not to call it a profit," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Valcke said that the tournament would generate $3.3B "in income from commercial deals," while FIFA would spend $1.2B "on the tournament, including $700[M] spent in South Africa." FIFA also is spending about $1B on "development programmes, financial assistance to national associations and other projects." But while Valcke predicted that income from sponsorship and media rights deals "would increase for future tournaments," he added that it is "wrong to talk about the surplus $1[B] as a profit, describing it as a reserve to insulate the organisation from any unforeseen financial problems." Blitz notes the $1B reserve fund is "in addition to an insurance policy worth $650[M] in the event of the tournament being postponed because of terrorism, war or natural disasters." Meanwhile, Valcke said that there "had been good and bad times in South Africa's preparations for the tournament." Valcke: "There were difficult days and great days. There were days where you asked the question about how we will succeed, what do we need to ensure that we are moving on." Valcke admitted that he "became truly comfortable about South Africa's readiness for staging the event only three months ago" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/4).
SET TO DEFY CRITICS: Valcke said that South Africa is "set to defy the critics who for years have been warning that it would be a challenge for South Africa to host the month-long 32-nation tournament." Valcke: "Some people were saying it was a stupid decision to organise the World Cup in South Africa. We will show the world that it was the right decision to organise the World Cup in South Africa and South Africa was able to provide, not only to FIFA but the world, with the best organisation possible." Valcke claimed that South Africa's organization is "better, even, than Germany provided as host in 2006." Valcke said what FIFA "maybe forgot at the beginning is that it's a very, very young democracy" in South Africa. Blitz in a separate piece notes a change of presidency took place after FIFA's awarding of the tournament to South Africa, and there were "up to eight ministers within the organising committee" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/4).
BEHIND SCHEDULE: The AP's Gerald Imray reported Valcke yesterday was "fiercely critical" of Brazil's preparations for the '14 World Cup. Valcke noted that Brazil, which was the "sole candidate country" to host the '14 World Cup, is "already falling behind deadlines." Valcke: "There are a number (of stadiums) with red lights already, which is amazing. It is amazing how Brazil is already late. ... I am talking about a number of stadiums. The stadiums are the basic points we need to have a World Cup and in Brazil, for the time being, most of the deadlines are already over and we have to work on new deadlines." Meanwhile, Valcke "warned that if the stadium in Brasilia was reduced to 30,000 seats, as reports suggest, it will not be allowed to host the tournament's opening game." The Brazil World Cup Organizing Committee in a statement said that it will "evaluate all stadiums beginning on Thursday," visits that will "last until May 20, and will also look at the construction schedule at each venue" (AP, 5/3).
FOUR-YEAR WAIT: The AP reported Japan has "pulled out of bidding for the 2018 World Cup, electing instead to focus on competing for the 2022 event." Japan Football Association President Motoaki Inukai in a report in today's Sports Hochi newspaper said that it "appeared FIFA is intent on staging the 2018 World Cup in Europe." Inukai and Japan Sports Minister Tatsuo Kawabata met with FIFA President Sepp Blatter yesterday, and Kawabata said Blatter "told us that European countries would be battling it out for 2018 and that it would be a wiser choice to go for 2022" (AP, 5/4).