FIFA president Sepp Blatter hails 'special & emotional' World Cup 2010

Tournament has been successful on many levels...
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has brushed off criticism of the World Cup and believes that the tournament in South Africa has been a truly "special" event.

Rather than focusing on the relative lack of quality football and the number of empty seats at some games, Blatter preferred to highlight the positive aspects of Africa's first World Cup when speaking to BBC Radio 5Live.

"Every World Cup has its own history and its own culture," he said.

"It was a World Cup in a new continent with new culture and therefore it must be analysed on different levels.

"If you look at the enthusiasm in South Africa and the TV audiences around the world then it was a special World Cup.

"It was a very attractive World Cup and for me it was also a very emotional World Cup."

Blatter blamed poor uptake on hospitality packages for the majority of empty seats at games.

"We have had empty seats yes, but not empty stadia. Don't forget, 95 per cent of all tickets have been sold," he added.

"There were two cities where we had in two matches not the expected attendances but otherwise if you have seen in some stadia empty seats it came from hospitality.

"There has not been the same enthusiasm for hospitality seats as we have seen in other World Cups."

As for the relative lack of success of African teams at the tournament, Blatter hinted that he felt that changing coaches in the run-up to the tournament had made it hard for those sides to do well.

"You cannot direct or manage a national team when you change the coach who is technically responsible two or three months before the competition," he explained.

"This has happened in two or three of the associations - Ivory Coast, South Africa and Nigeria - and therefore it would be a miracle if they go through.

"Nigeria was near to going through and with a little bit of luck we would have had Ghana in the semi-finals."

The FIFA chief also insisted that match-fixing had not been an issue, despite some fears ahead of the tournament.

"There was not one single alarm on match fixing. Not one single alarm in the early warning system also controlled through Interpol," he asserted.

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