Football: South Africa dismiss England's World Cup bid

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The Independent Online
THE HEAD of South Africa's World Cup bid, Danny Jordaan, yesterday said that he believed the race to stage the 2006 World Cup finals had come down to a battle between Germany and South Africa only.

Jordaan said he was not dismissing England's bid, but that Germany were "formidable candidates". He did not mention either of the bids from Morocco or Brazil.

"It is clear that the decision by Uefa to endorse Germany as the candidate of Europe is still a major factor on the European continent," Jordaan added, although that is not strictly understood to be the case.

Although Lennart Johansson, the president of Uefa, European football's governing body, has said he is in favour of Germany's bid, he has also said he will not order European delegates to follow a "party line" in their voting. He has repeatedly said they can vote for whoever they wish.

Jordaan admitted that England was still in the running for the finals but that it could not justify its claim to the finals simply on the grounds that it was "the home of football".

"It's Africa's turn. We hear that this or that country is the home of football. The truth is that the home of football is planet earth," Jordaan said. "I accept and respect England's claim but there are 203 members of Fifa [world football's governing body], and therefore the home of football must surely be the whole world."

Fifa's 24-man executive committee will decide which nation hosts the finals in July 2000. Its inspectors are due to start visiting the bidding countries later this year.