Five of the six stadiums that are being built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup are on track for completion ahead of the deadlines given to the South African 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) by FIFA, reports the LOC.
Former LOC chief communications officer Tim Modise reports that the civils contractors working on the stadiums have assured the LOC that the work on the stadiums is well ahead of schedule.
Chief civils contractor at Soccer City stadium, in Johannesburg, Grinaker-LTA has indicated that the venue, which will host the opening match of the tournament, four additional first-round matches, one match in the round of 16, one quarter final, and the final on July 11, 2010, will be completed between May and June 2009.
Although Soccer City stadium is not a new stadium, the upgrades to the stadium are significant enough for FIFA and the LOC to regard the stadium as new. Once completed, the stadium’s capacity will be increased by about 30 000 seats to accommodate about 97 000 fans.
Reports from Nelson Mandela stadium, which is being constructed in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, indicate that the stadium is taking shape and will be one of the first of the newly constructed stadiums to be finished. The completion date is expected in March 2009.
Modise reports that the LOC is watching with keen interest to see whether Moses Mabhida stadium, being constructed in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, will be finished before Nelson Mandela stadium.
“Reports in the media earlier in October indicated that Moses Mabhida stadium will be the first of the newly built stadiums to be completed and handed over to the LOC. The joint venture between civils companies WBHO, Group Five and Pandev, the main contractor at the stadium, has told the LOC that the stadium will be completed between March and April 2009,” says Modise.
He adds that Mbombela stadium, in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga province, and Peter Mokaba stadium, in Polokwane, Limpopo province, will be completed by June 2009.
Eye on Green Point
The only stadium that will not be completed before the deadline given to the LOC by FIFA is Green Point stadium, which is being constructed in Cape Town.
“With the deadlines given to the LOC by FIFA, there is ample time for stadiums to be completed. However, there is also enough time to fast-track construction if the situation calls for it. So the LOC is confident that Green Point stadium will be completed on time because there is the fast-track option available,” says Modise.
During a recent routine countrywide stadium tour, FIFA expressed its satisfaction on the progress made at these stadiums. Modise explains that the FIFA delegation looks at different aspects of the stadiums on each inspection tour.
On this tour, FIFA was assessing stadium access, as well as certain aspects of the stadium environment, such as security, transport access routes around the stadiums, as well as camera positions within the stadium.
Part of a Legacy
Modise points out that the money spent on building these stadiums is part of a larger legacy that FIFA and the South African Football Association hope to establish.
Traditionally, South African soccer teams have never had their own stadiums and have had to share stadiums with rugby teams and other soccer teams. With the construction of the new stadiums, soccer teams with a large fan base, such as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, can have their own stadiums instead of sharing a stadium with the Gauteng Lions rugby team.
Once the World Cup is over, Modise says, Absa premiership soccer will return to Soccer City that was for many years the home of the ‘Soweto Derby’ between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. The venue will also be the primary venue for international matches.
Other events which will be held at the stadiums include open-air concerts, religious festivals and political rallies.
Besides the tickets that FIFA has set aside for its own commercial purposes, a total of about one-million tickets will be made available to the South African public, and a further two-million tickets will be made available to both international fans and FIFA’s members and partners. Ticket sales for the World Cup go on sale in February next year.
A feature of the World Cup is the efforts that FIFA has made to ensure that the wider South African public enjoys the event. Modise says that the LOC and FIFA have come to an agreement to make the cheapest available ticket to a World Cup match R140. This price will not change as the exchange rate changes over the next year. FIFA has also made a certain number of comple- mentary tickets available to members of the public who cannot afford the price of a ticket.
The association announced in September this year that it will give two comple- mentary tickets to each construction worker who has worked on a stadium. These tickets can be used at the first match played at the stadiums that the workers built, with the exception of Soccer City, where con-struction workers will be able to use their tickets for the second match played at the stadium.
FIFA Fan Parks
Because of the expected interest in the World Cup, FIFA, in conjunction with the LOC, has toured each of the host cities to select appropriate venues for FIFA fan parks.
The FIFA fan park concept was first implemented during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Germany. The concept of the park is a venue where fans who could not get tickets for a specific match can watch the match.
The LOC will operate one fan park in each of the ten host cities. He adds that the LOC has identified certain venues which will be used as fan parks; however, these may change closer to the event for access purposes.
Modise reports that government plans to employ 30 000 additional police officers for the event.
Although government is responsible for the security of the tourists outside the stadiums, the LOC is responsible for the security of fans inside the stadiums.
“The LOC, in conjunction with the South African Police Service, the Intelligence Bureau and Customs officials have drawn up a strategic security plan in order to ensure security around the stadiums. The South African government is also working closely with international government agencies to exclude certain hooligan elements from the 2010 World Cup,” concludes Modise.