Port Elizabeth to wait until 2010
The board of directors for the Local Organising Committee to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ today decided not to include Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth as a FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 venue, after receiving an update report from the LOC's Technical Team (OCTT).
The decision has been communicated to the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Nondumiso Maphazi, by the LOC. While it was noted that significant progress had been made on the stadium and that it will undoubtedly be ready for South Africa 2010, the OCTT reported that it was unlikely to meet the 30 March 2009 deadline for completion set by FIFA and the LOC on 6 May 2008 at the last board meeting.
The board met at SAFA House today, with a FIFA delegation led by its Secretary General Jerome Valcke in attendance, and received updates on the progress at all ten 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums from the OCTT. At the last board meeting, LOC Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza said that the LOC was closely monitoring all the FIFA Confederations Cup stadiums and that if there was a chance that any of them failed to comply with the agreed deadlines, they would be removed from the South Africa 2009 schedule.
"We acknowledge the progress that has been made on the Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth stadium in recent months," said Dr Khoza. "With the complex nature of the construction and erection of the roof of the stadium, however, it was decided that it would be too high a risk to keep the stadium in the FIFA Confederations Cup schedule.
"But the stadium has been one of the star performers of the FIFA World Cup construction process and again, we reiterate that the stadium will be a wonderful venue in 2010. We want to commend the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality on the work that has been done on the stadium."
Valcke added: "We fully support the decision which was taken today by the Board based on bare facts and the ongoing monitoring of the OCTT of developments in Port Elizabeth. The Board showed that it is not afraid to take tough decisions to ensure the overall success of the FIFA Confederations Cup.
"Nelson Mandela Bay stadium bears the name of a great man who, at the host announcement in 2004, told of how inspirational this tournament is to him. And in 2010 it will be an outstanding stadium in a great location worthy of the big name it stands for - there is no doubt about it."
The board enthusiastically noted that as of 13h00 local time today, 5,490 people had applied to be volunteers at next year's FIFA Confederations Cup. In total, about 5,000 volunteers will be required for the tournament, which takes place from 14 to 28 June 2009, to assist in operational areas such as accreditation, administration, information technology, language support, logistics, transport, information services, media and marketing, among others.
That number has already been exceeded in just one week since the application process opened on 1 July 2008. The volunteer application process, however, is open until the end of August, when volunteers will be screened, interviewed and selected.
"We are delighted to see the overwhelming response from thousands of South Africans who have shown their eagerness to volunteer for the FIFA Confederations Cup," continued Dr Khoza. "It shows again that South Africans are extremely supportive and are willing to be part of the World Cup process.
"We have stressed on many occasions that this World Cup belongs to each and every South African and that it will only be successful if the entire country gets behind the project. The enthusiastic response to our call for volunteers for the Confederations Cup is therefore extremely pleasing. We would like to thank those who have applied and encourage people to continue applying until the end of August."
Potential volunteers for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 can apply online in the FIFA Confederations Cup section of FIFA.com until the end of August. Any inquiries about the volunteer programme can be directed to the programme's call centre number on 0800 52 52 52.
The board was also updated on the FIFA Confederations Cup preparations being in full steam, with a strong focus on the draw on 22 November 2008. The board received a detailed report on the transportation solution for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Among other key matters discussed during the meeting:
The board confirmed that the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held in Johannesburg on 11 June 2010. The FIFA Congress will also be held in Johannesburg prior to the tournament.