WBHO’s version of the stadium meeting

2013-07-14 14:00

WBHO says local firms did a “fantastic job” at a good price.

In mid-2006, more than five months before the tenders for the six new World Cup stadiums closed, and four months before they came out to tender, the special task team of the local organising committee (LOC) invited a number of construction companies to a meeting.

This task team needed to assess the ability of the local construction industry (in conjunction with foreign construction companies) to construct the stadiums in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

At the meeting, concerns about issues such as capacity, skills shortages, construction time periods and potential labour disruptions were discussed.

At the time, concerns were being raised about South Africa’s ability to deliver the facilities on time, and there were reports about a “Plan B” in terms of which the World Cup would be transferred to Australia or Germany.

The LOC needed assurance from the construction industry that the stadiums could, in fact, be built on time.

The only way to provide assurance was for the larger firms to meet and ensure there was sufficient capacity and interest to ensure the stadiums were built timeously.

This initiative was vital to the success of the World Cup.

When account is taken of the fact that the Wembley Stadium in London was completed two years late, this demonstrates the importance of ensuring the stadiums were constructed on time.

As the competition commissioner has recently noted: “Competition law allows for certain interaction between competitors, if it leads to pro-competitive and pro-efficiency gains.” This was the case in relation to the construction industry’s initiative to ensure timeous delivery of the World Cup stadiums.

WBHO is firmly of the opinion that the purpose of the industry initiative was not to allocate stadiums between the various construction companies or to inflate the tender prices relating to them.

In this context, it is noteworthy that the cost of the Cape Town, Joburg and Durban stadiums together cost the same as Wembley Stadium, on its own.

All are iconic and have similar seating capacity. Even the arch at the Durban stadium is higher than at Wembley.

The cost of the stadium in Brazil (almost $3.2 billion) is also higher than the cost of the South African stadiums.

In our view, the construction industry did a fantastic job in delivering these stadiums on time, to the highest quality standards, and at less than half the cost of other, similar, stadiums across the world.

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