JOHANNESBURG, June 23 – FIFA says it is satisfied with the way the Confederations Cup has been organised, but admits there are still problems to iron out ahead of the World Cup next year.
After poor crowd numbers early in the tournament, a dress rehearsal for the first World Cup ever in Africa, fans have embraced the event although worries remain about transport and a lack of hotel rooms.
"The Confederations Cup is not the World Cup. It’s a dry run that allows us to see how the organisational side of things is going," said FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke.
"And for the moment we are very satisfied. We are not getting carried away and we know what problems there are, but the world now knows that South Africa is capable of organising a competition like this."
He said the teams taking part — South Africa, Iraq, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, United States, Italy and Egypt — had all been happy with the organisation and the welcome they had received.
"The players are the best ambassadors the World Cup has," said Valcke.
"So it’s all looking very positive, though we are aware there is still a lot to be done."
Among the issues still concerning FIFA is the park-and-ride transport system, which has been problematic with chaotic scenes and long waits for buses.
"We know that not everything has worked perfectly," Valcke said of transport.
"The system needs to be reworked for the both the press and the fans, especially as there will be a lot more visitors here during the World Cup.
"It’s a key question that’s right at the top of our list."
As to hotel rooms, Valcke said they were still 15,000 rooms short of what they need for the World Cup.
"It’s something we are still looking at. People want to stay somewhere safe, with a bathroom and a bed to sleep on, but not necessarily four-star," he said.
"We are working to come up with solutions so that fans can access this type of accommodation."
One of the biggest concerns for fans heading to South Africa next year is the security situation. But despite thefts from the Egyptian and Brazilian teams at their hotels, FIFA said it was happy with the arrangements.
"The issue of security, which was a big topic in the media before the event, has been handled pretty well," said Valcke.
"The police and the government have really helped us out in that area and I would like to thank them for that."