Fifa gives all clear

FIFA has expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation for the 2010 World Cup that kicks off on Friday.

FIFA has expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation for the 2010 World Cup that kicks off on Friday.

The world soccer governing body made an assessment of South Africa's readiness at a two-day executive committee meeting in Johannesburg that ended yesterday.

Fifa also held an executive meeting on Robben Island in Cape Town last year.

The Johannesburg meeting was chaired by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who was scheduled to receive the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo (Gold) from President Jacob Zuma in Midrand last night.

Blatter has always maintained that South Africa will deliver a great tournament.

Local Organising Committee chairperson Irvin Khoza said: "The vote of confidence we are getting from Fifa's executive is highly appreciated. The World Cup has gripped the entire country and continent. It is good to see so many people flying the national flag and wearing Bafana Bafana replica jerseys."

At the executive meeting, Fifa decided to approve the change of date for the preliminary draw of the 2014 World Cup. It will be held six months earlier than previous draws to allow the confederations to begin their qualifying competitions in good time.

The draw will be held in July-August 2011.

Regarding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals, Fifa has formally approved the principle of co-hosting for this process. Belgium/Holland and Spain/Portugal have already presented joint bids.

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