PtG Article 29.03.2010

FIFA approves World Cup stadia

FIFA has signed off all 10 venues for this summer’s World Cup even though the venue for the final will not be officially handed over for another month.

The stadia were approved after Danny Jordaan, chief executive officer of South Africa’s World Cup organizing committee, concluded a 10 day inspection tour that took in all 10 World Cup venues.

“We have certainly travelled a long road since the first stadium inspection tour in 2005,” admitted Jordaan. “In each inspection we saw the stadiums develop from an idea on a piece of paper in an architect’s office to the magnificent football arenas that we see before us today.

“These inspection tours have played a vital role in ensuring that our stadiums are well prepared for the World Cup. The final tour is now complete and we can say with confidence that we have delivered on our promise of ten World class stadiums and we have delivered them months before the tournament even starts. So, the biggest construction hurdle is now almost complete and all parties are confidence (sic) they will be ready.”

Jordaan’s inspection tour began at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on March 16th and ended last Friday (March 26) at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

FIFA involved in stadia preparations

All the roads around the Soccer City are complete but intersections for fibre optic cables remain unfinished. Although the ground is not due to be handed over for another month, FIFA officials are working inside the 94,000 capacity stadium, which will stage the opening game on June 11 and the final on July 11.

“We have to hand contractually to FIFA on the 30th of April,” Sibongile Mazibuko, executive director of the city's World Cup department, told The Associated Press. “But we have allowed FIFA to start working within the stadium because it is in our interests that they start earlier. There is a lot of work that is already being done by FIFA within Soccer City with the temporary structures… the two should not be confused with the work that is being done for preparation or construction. Construction has been done and FIFA is now on site.

“It's before their time but we have allowed them (FIFA) to move in and start working because we understand in particular with this venue the amount of work they need to do to get ready for the World Cup.”

On the day that Jordaan completed his tour, municipal workers were invited to play a game at Soccer City to mark the end of the inspection period. The match was the first on the stadium’s pitch.