SA on track for 2010 - Jordaan

2005-04-25 13:00
Johannesburg - Preparations for South Africa to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup are on track, chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said on Monday.

"Anybody who suggests otherwise must have their heads read," he said in response to news reports on Monday which said South Africa was lagging in its preparations for the event.

"We are quite happy with the progress," Jordaan said.

"There is no single aspect on which we are not meeting our deadlines."

He rejected as "nonsense" and "ridiculous" claims that the preparations were falling behind.

He said South Africa's planning had started two years earlier than those of the Germans, who will host the event next year.

"It is not even close to the German World Cup and we have already started.

"Our only benchmark is against what other organising committees have done before, and we started two years earlier than the Germans did."

The first firm deadline to be met, Jordaan said, was June 2008. By then, at least eight South African soccer stadiums had to meet the standards of world body Fifa.

Jordaan said the Ellis Park, FNB, Loftus, Royal Bafokeng, Bloemfontein, Newlands, Port Elizabeth and Durban stadiums would be ready long before then.

South Africa had undertaken to have the stadiums ready by the end of 2007.

"Not only am I optimistic that we will achieve that, it is a given," Jordaan said.

He rejected an assertion in the reports that a promised end-of-April deadline for upgrading the Loftus Stadium in Pretoria, with additional turnstiles and modern electronics, was unlikely to be met.

Legal foundations

Asking who had set such a deadline, Jordaan said he was not aware of it. "We cannot seriously be asked to answer to ghosts."

As to delays in setting up the event's Local Organising Committee (LOC), Jordaan said the body was already "in existence.

"We just haven't laid the legal foundations. That will be done by the end of May. The very same people who are saying there is no LOC are referring to me as the CEO of the LOC."

He rejected a reported claim that "probably the most pressing problem of all - getting local municipalities on board and assessing their capacity to deliver on infrastructure needs" had not yet started.

"We have already completed the first part of the cities' audit," Jordaan said. "We have the information, all we have to do now is to verify that information. This process is already underway."

Three municipalities - in Port Elizabeth, Kimberley and Nelspruit - have applied to build their own stadiums for purposes of the 2010 World Cup.

Jordaan said two pieces of legislation governing financial and other aspects of the event were on track to be passed by Parliament by December 15 this year.

"We are five years ahead of the event. The next World Cup (of 2006) has not even happened, but already some have decided that we are behind schedule. This is ridiculous."

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