World football’s governing body said Wednesday that it is monitoring the outbreak of swine fever that has sparked alerts around the globe just six weeks before the Confederations Cup.
“We are monitoring the situation and we hope it will be under control before the seven teams are moving from their countries to South Africa for the Confederations Cup,” said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
“We will cancel only if we feel that we have to. If there are no risks and if we have all the necessary assurances, the competition will go ahead,” he told a press conference.
“It is serious, it is so serious that we canceled our Concacaf tournament” in Mexico, he added.
Countries playing in the tournament have the right to bar their teams from travelling to South Africa from the Confederations Cup, which runs from June 14 to 28, Valcke said.
FIFA was forced to move the women’s World Cup to the United States in 2003, due to the SARS outbreak in the intended host country China.
Medical experts from FIFA were set to meet this week in Zurich to discuss the swine flu outbreak, Valcke said.
The disease is believed to have killed 159 people in Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak that has already produced cases as far away as Germany and Israel.