FIFA is no longer worried that the stadiums in South Africa will be ready in time for the 2010 World Cup. Now it's fretting about whether or not they'll actually be filled.
"The biggest challenge is in filling the stadiums and we need to teach our people that there's nothing wrong with buying tickets six months ahead of an event," local committee chief executive Danny Jordaan said Monday. Meanwhile FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said he was "not afraid about the stadiums anymore," but that more excitement had to be generated. "We need to start giving life to the World Cup," he said.
Jordaan said the next 500 days would be a "tremendous challenge." The country was "now moving into the operational and implementation phase and we know it's not going to be easy." He told South Africans that if they miss the Confederations Cup this year and the World Cup next year, they're "never going to see them again on home soil, at least not in our lifetime."