SA faces R8.4bn stadium bill

2006-10-01 15:59

Johannesburg - South Africa faces a total cost of R8.352bn ($1.077bn) for the construction of five new stadiums and the renovation of a further five for the 2010 World Cup finals, organisers said on Sunday.

The cost is over three and half times higher than the R2.3bn estimate made in 2004 when the country won its bid to become the first African host of the World Cup tournament.

It is also well over the R3bn the government said one year ago it was setting aside for sport facility upgrades for the tournament.

The 2010 Local Organising Committee said in a statement it expected parliament to pass legislation to enable the disbursement of funds on Oct 24, allowing for the appointment of contractors by the end of the year and a start of construction in the new year.

But no precise dates were given for the commencement of work in the wake of growing concern expressed in recent weeks by Fifa over the pace of construction with the 2010 World Cup finals less than four years away.

The statement contradicts a report to parliament in July by the Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan, who said work would begin in October and costs would run to around R6bn.

Sunday's statement said the costs included R7.574bn for construction work, R582m for security around the stadia and R195m for overlay equipment, including broadcast facilities.

"Five stadiums will be ready by December 2008 and the remainder will be completed well ahead of the 2010 World Cup," the statement said.

Five stadiums are needed for the hosting of the eight-team Confederation Cup in mid-2009, which will serve as a test event one year ahead of the World Cup.

Venues for refurbishment

The LOC said it expected construction of new stadiums to last between 30 to 34 months and refurbishment of existing venues to take up to 20 months.

New stadiums are being constructed in Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Polokwane and Port Elizabeth. In Cape Town and Durban, 70 000-seater stadiums are planned.

Johannesburg's Soccer City, where the opening and final matches will be played, is set for a major upgrade which will take 30 months, the statement added. It will increase the venue's capacity to more than 100 000-seats.

The four other updates are at Ellis Park in Johannesburg; Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.

Last month Fifa president Sepp Blatter said he planned to travel to South Africa shortly to "fire up the organising committee".

"For the moment they have plans, money and decision but I have yet to see the pickaxes and spades needed to start the work," Blatter said of South Africa's preparations.

No date has yet been set for the proposed visit.