FIFA invites press to SA

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Football world governing body FIFA is inviting the world's journalists to South Africa, to show them how safe the country is as 2010 FIFA World Cup host.

Football world governing body FIFA is inviting the world's journalists to South Africa, to show them how safe the country is as 2010 FIFA World Cup host. Hans Klaus, the world soccer body's spokesman, told reporters in Cape Town that FIFA plans to show foreign journalists the 10 cities that will host matches in 2010. Klaus said that journalists from America, Asia and Europe would be taken on Fifa–sponsored tours from next month. "Europe and America have a perception of South Africa. And it's not the right perception, " said Klaus. "The media are also over–critical. We are sending foreign journalists to show them a beautiful country. We can help with perception–but the rest has to be done by South Africa. "Klaus, who is based at FIFA's headquarters in Switzerland, is in South Africa for a 10–day assessment tour of the country's preparations. His FIFA delegation is joined by the Local Organising Committee , government officials and other stakeholders. They want to tackle three issues: security, transport and energy–and Klaus was unapologetic about the challenges the country faces. "Security is mentioned most. It has to be addressed. It's especially an issue for those people who have a different opinion of this country, " said Klaus. "Transportation also has to be explained to people . Energy is also important. We need to talk about the problems and it has to be addressed more openly. You can't look like you're not prepared as a country. You also need to improve your passport control at airports. It took me one and a half hours to get through the airport in Johannesburg, " he said. Klaus said that the South African government is "assuring infrastructure and security and they want to go ahead". He said that FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who visited the country last month to observe its 2010 plans, was also upbeat. "He was really positive and I asked him if he's sure. And he said there really is progress. "

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