WC Security Concerns; Ex-Player Murdered

The murder of a former professional soccer player this past Friday has raised new concerns about South Africa's ability to provide adequate security for the 2010 World Cup.

Pieter Burgstaller, former keeper for Salzburg and an acquaintance of Franz Beckenbauer and German team manager Oliver Bierhoff, was shot and killed during a robbery on a golf course some 40 miles from Durban, the scene of today's World Cup qualifying draw.

The incident brings back into focus serious questions about the state of security in South Africa, with the high-crime rate being troubling for the event's organizers ever since the country was awarded the tournament.

"We won't be able to move so freely as we are used to at World Cup finals," said Bierhoff, who also admitted that his briefcase had been stolen while in Durban.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter spoke out against the murder, but immediately waved away any suggestion that the shooting was the result of thugs specifically targeting visitors for the event. "I just want to say how much we deplore that a tourist from Austria was shot dead yesterday on a golf course. We deplore that as we would deplore all death or casualties in any country.

"This tourist was not a member of the delegation coming for the draw and to make a parallel between FIFA's presence here and this death is not right," Blatter continued. "In a city of 3.5 million, some crimes will happen as they would in many other countries. On Friday evening in a tram station in Zurich, a young girl of 16 years old was shot. Crime is everywhere and Zurich is 10 times smaller than Durban."

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