An intense inspection of South Africa's stadiums has been completed, and the signs look positive...A 50-member delegation from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) and FIFA successfully completed an inspection of the five newly-built stadiums and the upgraded Soccer City stadium.
After travelling 4,000 kilometres to six cities in six days to run the rule over the new stadiums, the operational experts concluded that preparations are on track for all stadiums to be completed by the end of the year.
“This has been a very fruitful inspection tour for us. Where before we had to visualise walls and seats, we now have been able to walk around freely in the stadium as it will be during the tournament,” said the OC’s head of delegation, chief competitions officer Derek Blanckensee in a press statement.
In most instances the physical construction of the stadiums is virtually complete, with almost all seats installed and newly-laid pitches a welcome sight at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium, Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium and Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium.
“Overall we are very impressed with the achievements made. In addition to the stadiums coming together we were equally pleased that the teams of the OC, host cities and FIFA are working on a common vision on the delivery of the event,” said Ron DelMont, who also stressed the importance of next year’s test events to be able to fine-tune operational plans.
The tour comprised operational experts in the following areas: competitions, broadcasting, media operations, medical, volunteers, transport, logistics, safety and security, protocol, marketing, information technology, hospitality, ticketing and risk management.
For the first time the tour also included a consultant from the South African Disabled Alliance to oversee the provisions that have been made for access for all spectators with disabilities. Of the 650,527 tickets sold to date for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 7,863 wheelchair tickets have been purchased.
OC CEO, Dr. Danny Jordaan, paid tribute to the host cities. “They have all done us proud," he said. "They have ensured that their wonderful new stadiums are built to the highest standards and are ready in time. The question has always been raised as to whether we will be ready. This tour has provided ample evidence that indeed we will be. Now the work of the Organising Committee and FIFA begins in earnest as we take these stadiums and get them ready to host World Cup matches."
This entails putting in place the temporary overlay infrastructure which will be required to stage the tournament, such as the stadium media centres, hospitality areas, accreditation centres, signage and media tribunes.
Inspections were also made of the venue specific team hotels and the venue specific training sites in each city, with FIFA representatives leaving the country in positive spirits and confident of South Africa’s ability to host the event.
Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com