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'Bird flu will not halt football World Cup'

February 24, 2006 12:02 IST

The football World Cup will not be halted by fears of bird flu in Germany, FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona said in Buenos Aires on Thursday.

"Everything's been sold, the World Cup can't be suspended," Grondona, president of the Argentine Football Association, told local radio station Mitre during an interview.

"I was in Zurich last week and I didn't see anywhere that chicken was not being sold or not being eaten.

"I think it's something that's not an issue yet."

Argentine media reported this week that Germany's economy minister Michael Glos had said an increase in cases of the deadly bird flu disease in the country would not affect the World Cup preparations.

The 32-nation tournament will be held in Germany between June 9 and July 9.

The German government was alarmed this week by a spread of bird flu to the mainland from the Baltic island of Ruegen where the first case in Germany were detected.

"It's got to be something of great magnitude at all levels for measures to be taken to suspend a World Cup," Grondona said.

"I got back [to Buenos Aires] last Friday from my last meeting at FIFA. Nothing was said and no-one was alarmed."

(UNI)

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