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No worries about World Cup preparations, says FIFA

SoccerNews in World Cup 9 Jul 2008

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Organisers of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa insisted Wednesday preparations remain on track after the city of Port Elizabeth was stripped of the right to stage matches for the dress rehearsal.

The decision on Tuesday to drop the southern coastal city from the line-up for the 2009 Confederations Cup means none of the five stadia being built from scratch will be showcased for the traditional warm-up event.

However FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke told reporters Wednesday the move should not be seen as a vote of no confidence in South Africa's ability to have everything ready for the kick-off in just under two years' time.

“Nothing is ready (yet) but everything has to be ready and will be ready for the World Cup,” said Valcke.

“There was a red light for the PE stadium and that is why we had to take a decision. There is no other red light and things are either on orange or green.

“It is normal. We are exactly where we have to be.”

The axing of Port Elizabeth from the Confederations Cup roster was made just days after FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed he has a Plan B should South Africa be unable to host the World Cup, although he stressed it would only become active in the event of a natural disaster.

In the absence of Port Elizabeth, the Confederations Cup – which features South Africa, Italy, Spain, the United States, Brazil, Iraq and Egypt — will be staged in the northern cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.

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