Tuesday, July 25, 2006

South Africa ready to spend on 2010

South Africa has announced that they will spend upwards of US$858 million to get their 10 stadiums built and ready for the 2010 World Cup.

This stadium work includes building a 70,000 capacity site in Cape Town that will include a retractable roof and expanding the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg from 75,000 to 104,000 (this will be the stadium that hosts the opening and closing matches).

South Africa is also planning to invest US$1.2 billion into upgrades of airports, roads and rail lines.

So far FIFA has given them US$10 million to rebuild their national soccer team and US$10 million for a new headquarters for their Football Association. This money is part of the advance payment promised to the host federation.

But what would a day be like without talk of the tournament being moved. This time, Australia pops up as a possible alternative.

"FIFA's top official in South Africa, Michael Palmer, dismissed such talk as 'nonsense.' He said the world soccer body is confident that South Africa will overcome problems associated with the lack of public transport and come up with sufficient accommodation for visitors."

Palmer stressed that they are already further along then Germany was at a comparable time in its planning.

South Africa is expecting 350,000 foreign visitors during the tournament. This number is well below the 2 million fans that flooded Germany, but an official says this lower number is due to "our geographical position and the cost of long distance travel."

They hope that these visitors and all the build up before the Cup will help reduce their unemployment numbers, which are around 25%.

Finally, a total of three million tickets will be sold for the 2010 tournament, one third for the South African market, one third for international fans and the other third reserved for marketing partners and FIFA. Nice to know that the rest of the world is equal to the marketing official sponsors. Where would the Cup be without the fans?

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