In Zurich, we await the verdict
From the Swiss city where the 2010 World Cup host will be decided, Inas Mazhar
reports on Egypt and the other bidding countries as they prepare for their closing arguments
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The decision makers, the FIFA 24-member executive committee. On Saturday, in secret ballot, they will decide who gets to stage the 2010 World Cup
On Saturday, the 2010 World Cup host will be named. The day before, the five countries competing will get one final chance to explain to those who will vote why they deserve the biggest honour in soccer.
The final presentations by Egypt, South, Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya will be held tomorrow at FIFA headquarters in Zurich starting at 12 noon. There will first be a few words of welcome by FIFA President Joseph Blatter. The presentations will then follow. Each presentation will be given by the delegation chiefs followed by a 10-minute question and answer session. Each nation is allocated 30 minutes for its presentation.
The floor will be given to Morocco first, followed by Tunisia, South Africa, Libya then Egypt.
Media representatives will not be allowed to attend the presentations. However, they will be able to watch the event live on screen at the media centre at the World Trade Centre in Zurich.
The day after, on Saturday, a meeting of FIFA's 24- member executive committee will be held at 9am. "The meeting is strictly behind closed doors; delegates, the media and the public are barred from attending," Nicolas Maingot, a member of FIFA's media committee, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
At noon, the 2010 FIFA World Cup host announcement will be made at the press conference at the World Trade Centre.
More members of the Egyptian delegation are scheduled to arrive in Zurich today. Youth Minister Alieddin Hilal, who will be heading Egypt's delegation, will be accompanied by Essam Abdel-Moneim, president of the Egyptian Football Association.
The first group of Egypt's delegates had arrived in the Swiss city on Tuesday, including the head of the Egyptian sports body, Talaat Geineidi, bid committee president Mohamed El-Siagi and co-ordinators Hisham Azmi, Sahar El- Hawari and Abdel-Moneim El-Sawi.
While a home for the World Cup is still undecided, FIFA is celebrating the start of construction of its new home. A ceremony marking the start of construction is to be held tomorrow attended by Jacques Rogges, president of the International Olympic Committee and the FIFA board as well as high-ranking Zurich state officials.
The reason behind the expansion is that FIFA has gradually grown out of its offices. Inaugurated in 1979 to coincide with FIFA's 75th anniversary, the building at Hitzigweg -- or FIFA House as it is widely known -- quickly became too small to accommodate the entire FIFA administration. In recent years, the federation has acquired various other properties in Zurich. As a result, the federation is today housed in what has become a " FIFA Village". But with employers spread around six buildings in Zurich and other cities, it has been often difficult for FIFA people to gather for meetings and other events. The solution has come in the form of a new home which will be completed by 2006.