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Feb 29, 2008

World Cup bosses point to progress amid division speculation

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Construction|Port|Infrastructure
Construction|Port|Infrastructure
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Media speculation regarding divisions within the 2010 FIFA World Cup’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) did not appear to hamper the sixth inspection by football’s world governing body, FIFA, and the LOC, to establish South African preparedness for the Confederations Cup in 2009 and for the 2010 extravaganza.



The inspection tour began at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, last week.

LOC CEO Danny Jordaan, was confident that the latest inspection tour would find considerable progress had been made in the preparations for the first FIFA World Cup on African soil.

FIFA sets the bar very high for its venues and facilities. The inspections offer an opportunity to interact with the various parties involved in the venues to review the current state of affairs and to see first-hand the progress made. That is why such inspections play a major role in the organisation of any FIFA event across the world.

“The delegation will see four of the five venues on the tour, all of which are existing stadiums, which regularly host major international events. They need only minor upgrades, which are currently well under way. Overall, we’re happy with the progress and there’s no doubt we will be ready to host the FIFA Confederations Cup. We’re confident FIFA will be happy with what they see on this tour,” said Jordaan.

The inspection tour took place in the wake of a very successful preliminary draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in Durban, late last year.

The first inspections were to determine the host cities, with two held in 2006 and the last FIFA inspection visit taking place in October last year at Cape Town’s Green Point stadium, Nelson Mandela stadium, in Port Elizabeth Bay, and Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium.

The LOC has declared 2008 the year of delivery of infrastructure for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Inspection team head Dennis Mumble told journalists at a media conference that this was a regular, scheduled inspection that focused on the FIFA Confederations Cup venues.

“We will visit four of the five venues for the Confederations Cup to get a sense of progress and we are confident that we are on track with the preparations,” declared Mumble.

City of Johannesburg 2010 executive director Sibongile Mazibuko said that the team was happy to see the construction of the Ellis Park precincts “taking shape”.

The Ellis Park precinct will receive a multimillion-rand upgrade over the next five years. The general area around the precinct is also set to benefit from a R2-billion upgrade.

After Ellis Park stadium, the inspection team visited Loftus Versveld stadium, in Tshwane, Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng sports palace, Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba sports stadium, Nelspruit’s Mbombela stadium and concluded the tour at Mangaung’s Free State stadium.

LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza said,

 

“We disagree at times, interrogate and debate issues, but what is important is that I know that I do not have a puppet next to me, but I have somebody strong. We are saying to all South Africans, please support us. “There is a lot of despondency and hopelessness in the country at this point in time. The 2010 FIFA World Cup is the only event that is giving us hope,” declared Khoza.

He added that anyone who interfered with the process should be excluded and the LOC would ensure that nobody derailed its quest to successfully host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“This event is too big for us to destroy and I am appealing to the media not to be our praise singers or cheerleaders, but to give information that will stand the test of time.”

He highlighted that in the last World Cup, in Germany, the rooftop of the stadium was leaking and one could smell paint, but it was not reported in the media.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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