FIFA hit out at English media

SUN CITY, South Africa - England are happy with their proposed World Cup base, coach Fabio Capello said on Tuesday, amid media reports that the complex was only half completed and substandard.

"We are really happy because we checked everything. They (the facilities) have improved a lot from the last time that we stayed here," Capello told reporters in Sun City.

"The pitches will be better for June, the hotel is really nice and...the medical centre will be ready in two months."

World football's governing body FIFA had earlier gone on the offensive in a row with English tabloid newspapers over the readiness of the hotel complex near Rustenburg which was described by one of the papers, The Sun, as a "dump."

A visibly irritated general secretary Jerome Valcke told a news conference that he and South African local organising committee counterpart Danny Jordaan had visited the Royal Bafokeng hotel on Monday.

"What I saw is definitely a place where you can stay," said Valcke. "It has all the facilities of a modern hotel. What else do you need?"

Jordaan, who has accused English newspapers of seeking to sabotage South Africa's image, said 68 rooms were completed and the hotel was already in use by guests.

Capello said the team management were ready to finalise the deal to use the complex.

"We are very happy. It is the third time that we stay here and the facilities are fantastic. Yes, we (still) have to sign but we are ready for signing."

England play their opening match of the finals against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12.

Valcke told the news conference that two pitches where England were likely to train for the June 11-July 11 finals were being reseeded.