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  • FIFA's Valcke Says Stampede Vindicates World Cup Ticket Policy

    Valcke Says FIFA Will Not
    Sell Tickets On Match Days

    FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke yesterday said that the fan stampede before Sunday's Nigeria-North Korea friendly "vindicates FIFA's policy of refusing to sell World Cup tickets on match days," according to James Corbett of WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER. Valcke: "It is good for us because it has proved we are right in saying that you should never distribute tickets at a stadium on a match day." Meanwhile, Valcke "denied suggestions by the Nigerian FA that FIFA's control over South African stadia had forced them to play the match in an inadequate venue." He said that it was "'very clear' that FIFA controlled the 10 World Cup stadiums but that was the limit of their influence." Valcke: "Any other stadium -- you think of Cape Town, Orlando Stadium where they played rugby matches, we didn't say you can't play there." When asked why FIFA "did not take control of the organization of World Cup warm-up matches, Valcke emphasised how commercially important such encounters were for federations." Valcke: "We gave the organizational right and the commercial rights (for friendlies) back to the federations and for many of them it is their main source of income" (WORLDFOOTBALLINSIDER.com, 6/7). Valcke "rejected the suggestion that FIFA should take a more hands-on role in organising friendlies in the host country in the immediate run-up to a World Cup." Valcke: "The teams have a preparation period for the World Cup, it is their duty to organise the number of games they need to have" (GUARDIAN, 6/8). Valcke said, "We are criticised for not distributing tickets on match day. But this proved that we are right and you should never distribute tickets on a match day." Valcke also said FIFA's level of organization is "definitely higher than we have seen" with the Nigeria-North Korea friendly (LONDON TIMES, 6/8). However, FanHouse.com's Jay Mariotti said of the stampede, "I’m a little worried about what is going to happen over the next several weeks in South Africa. I hope this isn’t an example of what is next” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 6/7).

    HISTORICAL REENACTMENT? In L.A., Kevin Baxter reports if South African Airways can get approval from FIFA, the scene from the movie "Invictus" that shows a SAA jumbo jet "buzzing the top of a packed Johannesburg stadium" during the final of the '95 Rugby World Cup "may be reprised" during Friday's Mexico-South Africa game. Retired pilot Laurie Kay, who flew the plane in '95, said, "The preparation for it has been done. The people at SAA said they're still a little in the dark. FIFA is almost the government at the moment. What they say goes." But FIFA Media Officer Delia Fischer said that the flyover "was definitely a no-go." Fischer: "It's forbidden. No plane will receive permission to fly over any of the World Cup stadiums as the air space is restricted within a 1-kilometer radius" (L.A. TIMES, 6/8).

    HORN OF PLENTY: In DC, Liz Clarke in a front-page piece wrote, "Of all the South African sights and sounds that will make the 2010 World Cup unique, none promises to rouse more controversy than the blare of a plastic horn," the vuvuzela. Several coaches and players in advance of the World Cup have "called for its banning, saying the din" made by the horns "made it impossible to communicate on the pitch." Others "claimed the vuvuzela posed a health hazard, stood to overwhelm TV broadcasts and was annoying, to boot." But with the "backing of FIFA President Sepp Blatter," the vuvuzela "will be at full song" during the Mexico-South Africa game. ESPN Senior VP & Exec Producer/Event Production Jed Drake said of the vuvuzela, "It's going to be an interesting challenge to ensure that we never lose the ability to have our announcers heard clearly and distinctly." But Drake added that ESPN "didn't lobby against the instrument." Drake: "We recognize that it's a part of South African culture. We're not in a position to say that we want to alter that culture. We realize that it's there, and we're going to capture its sound -- if it doesn't capture us first" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/6).

    LIVE FROM SOUTH AFRICA: Are you or someone you know in the sports business industry attending the matches in South Africa and would like to participate in our upcoming World Cup roundtables? If so, please contact William Cooper at wcooper@sportsbusinessdaily.com and let him know.

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