Greenlight for Green Point Stadium

2010-03-02 12:46

CAPE Town’s Green Point Stadium got the nod from the contingent of 120 journalists as the best so far in the SA 2010 Fifa Local Organising Committee (LOC) organised Host Cities Tour.

The pitch (with “keep off the grass” signs) was ranked as the best we have seen so far.

This morning’s (Monday, March 1) visit was the first before going to Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Stadium and the gala dinner in Durban.

Mayor David Plato announced that tickets for all group matches scheduled for Cape Town had been sold out.

Green Point will host the France vs Uruguay game on June 11, followed by Italy/Paraguay on June 14, England/Algeria June 18, Portugal/Korea DPR on June 21 and Cameroon/Holland on June 24.

Uniquely, the stadium will host the rugby test between the Springboks (SA national rugby team) and France a day after the opening match.

“Fifa are very strict on t events being held closer to and during the World Cup,” said Western Cape Premier Hellen Zille. “The fact that they allowed us to stage the rugby test, is proof of the confidence they have in us.”

She said the city has proven its expertise on event hosting by coming out with flying colours on previous occasions such as the final draw held in December.

Plato said his city was now working hard to ensure that they accommodate as many people as possible at the fan parks and public viewing places.

“We will have to cover them as the games will happen in winter. The Valodrome where one of the viewing places will be held is an indoor arena and can take up to 5 000 people,” he said.

Former Rugby great who was also the team manager of the World Cup-winning 1995 squad said the city had entered into an agreement with Stade de France and local company Sail to manage the stadium.

“We are currently working with Fifa to ensure that the World Cup is a success,” he said. “After the World Cup, we have a sustainability plan that will see the stadium host nine to 10 matches a year. We will also host other events. As it is we are inundated with requests for banquets amnd conferences at the stadium.”

He said it would also help their sustainability to have a club use the stadium as a home ground as this “will guarantee us at least 10 matches a year.”

He also said the stadium has proper facilities for people with physical disabilities and these had been tested and monitored by members of an organization that looks after such people during one of the matches staged to test the venue and came out tops except for a few shortcomings that were being attended to.

Zille reminisced about the problems that existed in the beginning, but now R4.5 billion down the line, she said everybody she meets in town say it was a good decision to go ahead with the stadium that will seat 68 000 spectators during the World Cup.

The capacity will come down to 55 000 after the World Cup as some temporal seats will be pulled down at the end of the event.

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke summed it all up when he described Green Point as: “An amazing Stadium.”

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