South Africa to Host 2010 World Cup (1 Viewer)

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Nov 18, 2003
ZURICH, Switzerland - South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup on Saturday, the first time soccer's showcase event will be held in Africa. South Africa beat out Morocco and Egypt during a vote by the executive committee of the sport's governing body. Four years ago, South Africa lost to Germany in controversial balloting to host the 2006 tournament.
"I feel like a young man of 50," said Nelson Mandela, the 85-year-old former South African president.

Mandela attended the news conference and triumphantly held up the World Cup trophy following the announcement by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

"We can all applaud Africa," Blatter said. "The victor is football. The victor is Africa."

South Africa received 14 votes during the first round in the election by FIFA's executive committee. Morocco had 10 votes and Egypt none among the all-African candidates.

Tunisia also bid but withdrew Friday, and Libya was knocked out Saturday by FIFA because it did not meet "all relevant conditions."

South Africa was favored in the 2006 vote, held in 2000. But on the third ballot, Germany won 12-11 when New Zealand's Charles Dempsey unexpectedly abstained after his confederation told him to vote for South Africa. Blatter had said that if the vote had been 12-12, he would have cast his tiebreaking ballot for South Africa.

Following that vote, FIFA decided to rotate the World Cup site by continent. It designated 2010 for Africa and 2014 for South America, where Brazil is the early favorite.

The United States, which hosted the tournament in 1994, hopes the rotation will allow it to bid for the 2018 World Cup, but the host continent for that year has not been determined.

Mandela, jailed during South Africa's apartheid era, attended Friday's presentation with current President Thabo Mbeki, former President F.W. de Klerk and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

South Africa, the highest rated candidate in a report by FIFA, has nine stadiums in place and four more to be refurbished. It hosted last year's cricket World Cup and the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The biggest downside in its bid was the country's high crime rate.

When the announcement was made, a roar of joy reverberated in many areas of South Africa, where the news conference was broadcast live on big outdoor screens. Champagne corks popped at soccer stadiums, public squares and community centers as black and white united in celebration.

"What better news could our industry have asked for to cement the successes we have achieved and are indeed celebrating during this historic year as we celebrate 10 years of freedom?" said Cheryl Carolus, South Africa's tourism chief executive officer.

The South African bid committee has estimated the World Cup will be worth $3.1 billion to the nation's economy and create 160,000 jobs.

Alan Rothenberg, the leader of the U.S. organizers for the 1994 tournament, helped put together Morocco's bid. Morocco's three previous bids to host the World Cup also ended in defeat.

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