‘No Afcon crisis’

2012-04-13 15:14

The local organising committee (LOC) and the government remained confident today that their favoured eight cities would agree to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

No cities had officially withdrawn bids to host matches during the tournament, LOC chief executive Mvuzo Mbebe told reporters in Johannesburg.

“Most of the cities say they are waiting for the national government, but otherwise they are happy to sign [the hosting agreement],” Mbebe said.

Media reports suggested Cape Town and Johannesburg had considered withdrawing bids to host matches during the continental tournament, because of financial constraints.

Mbebe said Cape Town was among potential hosts not yet willing to sign the hosting agreement.

“They have raised concerns, but we are dealing with those issues with the City of Cape Town.”

The government had not raised a red flag, according to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, despite the resistance from Cape Town, which offered the Cape Town Stadium, a 2010 World Cup venue.

“It is not a crisis if a certain city looks at its budget and does not agree with what the LOC has put before them,” Mbalula said.

“It is just that some people are overzealous in making comments in the media.”

Details of the hosting agreement, including the budget, will be revealed. “We are making progress, but the matter must go through the Cabinet system,” Mbalula said.

Mbebe said host cities would cater for as many as four teams each, offering potentially lucrative financial gain.

“There will be fans going to those cities and there will be an economic boost,” he said.

No further comments would be made on the tournament preparations, Mbalula said, until the government had followed due process.

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