1 October 2009
South Africa’s four new built-from-scratch 2010 Fifa World Cup stadiums, as well as the flagship upgraded Soccer City stadium, are on track for completion by the end of the year, Fifa’s experts reported after a six-day, six-city inspection tour.
A 50-member delegation from Fifa and the 2010 Organising Committee South Africa (OC) travelled 4 000 kilometres across the country this week to run the rule over the five stadiums, along with venue-specific team hotels and training sites.
Physical construction of most of the stadiums is virtually complete, with almost all permanent seating in place and pitches newly laid at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium, Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium, and Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.
“Overall we are very impressed with the achievements made,” Ron DelMont, the head of Fifa’s South African office, said in a statement on Wednesday. “In addition to the stadiums coming together, we were equally pleased that the teams of the OC, host cities and Fifa are working on a common vision on the delivery of the event.”
The OC’s Derek Blanckensee described the inspection tour as “very fruitful … Where before we had to visualise walls and seats, we now have been able to walk around freely in the stadiums as they will be during the tournament.”
Danny Jordaan, CEO of the Organising Committee, said many had questioned whether South Africa would be ready in time for 2010.
“This tour has provided ample evidence that indeed we will be,” Jordaan said. “Now the work of the Organising Committee and Fifa begins in earnest as we take these stadiums and get them ready to host World Cup matches.”
This will involve setting up the temporary overlay infrastructure required to stage the tournament, such as the stadium media centres, hospitality areas, accreditation centres, signage and media tribunes.
The tour comprised operational experts in broadcasting, media operations, medical, transport, logistics, safety and security, protocol, marketing, information technology, hospitality, ticketing and risk management.
It also included a consultant from the South African Disabled Alliance, to oversee the provisions that have been made for access for spectators with disabilities. Of the 650 527 World Cup tickets sold to date, 7 863 are wheelchair tickets.
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