22 June 2010
As the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ quickly approaches the half-way mark, initial glitches have been ironed out and the competition is progressing magnificently, says Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan.
Evaluating the tournament after 32 of the 64 matches had been completed, Jordaan said the World Cup had been a wonderful “success story” so far.
Initial problems addressed
Speaking on Talk Radio 702 on Monday, Jordaan acknowledged that there had been problems with transport during the initial stages of the World Cup, along with a number of empty seats at some of the stadiums, but added that these issues had since been addressed.
There was a preference among South Africans to use their cars instead of public transport, and this had added to the congestion on the roads before the matches, making it difficult for fans to arrive at the games on time.
While this was a problem at the start of the tournament, Jordaan said that since then a transport task team had been set up and traffic was now moving significantly better since the opening match.
More South Africans were also now making use of the park-and-ride and park-and-walk facilities.
Increasing corporate interest
On the issue of the empty seats at some of the matches, Jordaan said a large number of corporate suites had been sold out, but the interest from these corporates had been low at the start of the tournament and would increase as the tournament progressed.
An investigation was under way into why there were so many empty seats at four matches, he added.
Responding to a question about ticket sales, Jordaan conceded that over-the -counter ticket sales should have been introduced a lot earlier.
All requirements fulfilled
Despite these glitches, South Africans have been good hosts so far.
Any plan B that might have been waiting in the wings should the country fail as hosts had long since “been sent back home”, Jordaan said.
He pointed out that all the requirements for a successful tournament were already fulfilled – namely that matches had started on time; matches had successfully been broadcast across the world; the atmosphere at matches had been vibrant; and most of the stadiums were full.
Jordaan was confident that South Africans would not lose interest in the tournament even if Bafana Bafana did not progress to the next round, explaining that a large number of South African fans had attended every match so far, regardless of which teams had played.
“This event is in the heart of South Africans, and goes over and above our own team,” he said.