Blatter says sold out FIFA WC a fitting answer to critics

July 12th, 2010 - 6:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Johannesburg, July 12 (ANI): FIFA president Sepp Blatter has answered critics of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, who have targeted bad refereeing and poor turnout at stadiums, by pointing to human error and the fact that nearly all tickets for the matches were sold.

“We are bound by the best referees we have. We tried to get them on top but naturally referees are human beings and they commit errors like everybody,” News24 quoted Blatter as explaining to Radio 5’s Live Sportsweek. ”

Blatter claimed that the lack of interest in hospitality seats in South Africa accounted for more empty seats in this year’s World Cup in comparison to previous tournaments.

“Empty seats, yes, but not empty stadia. Don’t forget 95 percent of all tickets have been sold,” he said.

“Not everybody came to the stadia. If you have seen in some of the empty seats it came from hospitality, and we know hospitality does not work as we have expected because there is not the same enthusiasm as there has been for hospitality seats in other World Cups.”

Blatter put the poor showing of African sides down to the high turnover of coaches and the disruptive influence this has on a team.

“You cannot manage a national team when you coach two or three months before the competition and this has happened in two of the associations, Ivory Coast and Nigeria,” he said. “Therefore it would have been a miracle if they went through.”

Blatter also addressed the controversial issue of the vuvuzela by saying that they had proved a hit with the foreigners who came to South Africa for the tournament. “We’ve survived the vuvuzelas, everybody has survived the vuvuzelas,” he said. “I don’t think we can just take them away.”

“This is not only the African way, because all the visitors coming here have started to buy the vuvuzelas and in the final there will be not even 50 percent African people in the stadium but everybody will have a vuvuzela.”

The 74-year-old refused to say how this World Cup ranked against previous tournaments but hinted that this one was close to his heart.

“It was a World Cup on a new continent with a new culture and therefore it must be analysed on different levels, but if you look at the enthusiasm in Africa and also the repercussion in the world, if you look to the television audiences around the world, if you look to the fan-fests everywhere in the world then I have to say it was a special World Cup,” he said.

“All these fan-fests were not only because it was football but specifically because it comes from Africa. I cannot make a ranking of the World Cup but it was a very attractive World Cup and for me it was also a very emotional World Cup,” he added.

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