FIFA happy with China's preparations for Olympics

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BEIJING, Mar 24 (Reuters) A FIFA delegation said it was impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of Beijing organisers after a three-day visit to China to check on preparations for the 2008 Olympics.

Men and women's football tournaments will take place in seven stadiums across China at the Games, although the delegation only visited the three in Beijing, including the site of the National Stadium which is still under construction.

''I have no doubt whatsoever that the Olympic football tournaments in China will be played in perfect conditions,'' delegation head and FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou said in a statement released at the end of the visit.

Hayatou also met Liu Jingmin, the deputy mayor of Beijing and the executive vice-president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG).

''Our colleagues and friends at BOCOG are very keen to meet FIFA's requirements and I am thankful to them for that,'' Hayatou added.

China is hosting the women's World Cup next year but Hayatou told local media that they faced a longer wait for the men's equivalent.

South Korea and Japan hosted soccer's showpiece event in Asia in 2002 and, under FIFA's current rotation policy, it is unlikely the World Cup would return to the continent before 2026.

REUTERS AY SP1303

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