Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fleets Plan 1,000 Buses on Roads During World Cup

The nation's bus fleets are planning to have at least 1,000 buses on the road during the 2010 World Cup, according to Transport Minister Jeff Radebe.

It also committed 420 semi-luxury and inter-city buses to MATCH. In addition, Pasa would provide another 110 to ferry spectators.

The remaining 1 000 buses did not form part of the signing ceremony and would be provided for separately.

Radebe said with only 437 days until the start of the World Cup, the memoranda of understanding were a show of the department's commitment to making the event a resounding success.

Bus fleets to be beefed up for 2010
Independent Online
March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

World Cup Host Outlook for 2018 and 2022

This piece from SoccerLens takes a look at the 11 candidates who've applied bids to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

Here are some details on the bidding process:
Applicants must next submit their bidding agreements by 11 December 2009, with Fifa’s 24-man executive committee choosing the winning candidates in December 2010.

Countries who fail to land the 2018 World Cup able to automatically be a candidate for the 2022 World Cup, provided that the 2018 host is not from the same continent as them.

Successful hosts must meet certain conditions if they are to win the right to stage the World Cup, providing at least 12 stadiums with minimum capacities of 40,000, with the final to be held in a stadium with a capacity of at least 80,000.

The 11 prospective hosts (which include both single country bids and dual-country bids) are broken down into three categories: “Not A Chance” Candidates, Unlikely Candidates, and Serious Candidates.

Who Will Host World Cups 2018 and 2022?
March 28, 2009

Kissinger to Back U.S. World Cup Bid for 2018/2022

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has again joined the USA Bid Committee to try to make the case for a U.S.-hosted World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. He was on the board for the country's successful 1994 bid, and though he's expressed confidence in the U.S. demand for the game, he thinks a 2018 hosting gig is not likely.

"I don't think we have a huge chance in 2018, it will probably go to Europe, but you can't tell. We have a good chance for 2022," added Kissinger.

...Kissinger was recruited by U.S. Soccer to join the USA Bid Committee to present world soccer's governing body FIFA with proposals to stage a second World Cup in the United States. The 1994 tournament was held in America.

...Asked what he would stress to FIFA in a bid, Kissinger said enthusiastic crowds were one of the key things the U.S. offered.

"In most World Cups, the preliminary games don't have huge attendance. If Yemen plays Egypt, people don't rush to see it, unless it's in one of those countries," he said. "(In 1994) we were sold out at practically every game."

Detente architect Kissinger backs U.S. World Cup bid
March 30, 2009

Stadium Disaster Leaves 22 Dead in Ivory Coast; SA Officials Deflect Concerns

A crush of people inside an Ivory Coast stadium for a World Cup qualifying match caused a wall to collapse, injuring more than 130 attendees and leaving at least 22 dead.

At least 22 football supporters have died at a World Cup qualifying match in the Ivory Coast, according to state officials. Reports suggest that a wall collapsed as a number of fans, possibly without tickets, crushed into the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan shortly before Ivory Coast were due to play Malawi. Desire Tagro, Ivory Coast's minister of the interior, said that 22 people were killed and more than 130 were injured.


Reports conflict over the number of fans in attendance, with estimates ranging from 36,000 to more than 60,000. Some news sources reported that the game was sold out and the stadium overcrowded after cut-price tickets were put on sale.

"Spectators who did not buy tickets were jostling before the match," the Ivory Coast's sports minister, Dagobert Banzio, told state television. "They smashed one of the main gates of the stadium. They were trampled." Banzio estimated the number of injured at 132.

South African World Cup organizer Danny Jordaan says stampedes like those seen during many African matches will not be a problem during the 2010 tournament, mainly due to the way tickets will be sold.

Jordaan says many African fans buy their tickets only when they reach the stadium, and often arrive late to do that, creating an impatient crowd outside that can spark an incident.

When the World Cup comes to South Africa in 2010, match tickets will have to be purchased well in advance. Jordaan says those without tickets will be "stopped kilometers away," and fans will be urged to arrive early.

Supporters die at Ivory Coast World Cup qualifier after crush
The Guardian
March 30, 2009

World Cup organizer: Stampedes won't be an issue
Associated Press
March 30, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Discussion About the Problems and Potentials for SA

This podcast features a discussion about the challenges facing South Africa as it prepares to host the World Cup (the relevant discussion begins around 17 minutes in). Crime and murder are highlighted as specific concerns facing the country, though there is some feeling that concerns are overblown. One panelist discounts concerns over low ticket sales for the Confederations Cup and what many are calling a lax marketing effort within the country. But on the positive side, the weather is going to be nice!

We will also talk about the positives that will undoubtedly make South Africa 2010 a huge spectacle and we even discuss the baboon breakout that threatens to cause carnage at the World Cup!

Among the topics discussed with Gary Andrews and Daryl Grove were:

* The international sides set to make an impression at the World Cup
* World Cup 2010 ticketing issues
* South Africa’s crime rate and how this may affect travelling supporters
* The positives of holding football’s premier competition in Africa

Soccerlens Podcast - South Africa 2010
March 27, 2009

Telecoms Invest Big for World Cup

Private investment in telecommunication infrastructure from Telkom will top $36 million, in addition to the nearly $100 million dedicated from the government.

Telkom South Africa planned to spend $36 million (R340 million) on telecoms infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup, Melusi Mthethwa, the executive in charge of the fixed-line operator's 2010 project office, said yesterday.

The government would spend R950 million on communications for the event.


$36m budget for 2010

March 26, 2009

Ex-Pats Lured Back to SA

The economic downturn and the lure of business opportunities related to the 2010 World Cup have caused a boom in the amount of South African ex-patriates planning to return to the country. As a result, property values are rising.

[Seeff Properties General Manager Emarie Campbell] said it seemed that South Africans wanted to return home despite some negative publicity surrounding the upcoming general elections on 22 April, the unpopular black economic empowerment policies and crime.

"They believed that skills shortages ensured that correctly skilled people were still finding jobs regardless of colour and that there were many opportunities associated with infrastructure developments ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup," she said.

But in contrast, Campbell said most of the overseas enquiries from Europeans looking for second or holiday homes or to invest in South African farms, had dropped.

The return of expats has, however, helped the South African property market.

Ex-pats boost SA property
March 26, 2009

Escort Services to be Allowed in Mpumalanga

Escort services will be allowed in the northeastern province of Mpumalanga, according to a recent announcement from local government officials. Tourism related to the Confederations Cup and the World Cup is highly anticipated, and local governments are looking for ways to benefit economically.

According to an advert by the Mbombela local municipality, people intending to provide escort services during the tournament are welcome to apply for a business licence.

The advert addresses itself to any business that makes "the services of an escort, whether male or female, available to any other person".

Yesterday, the deputy director-general for 2010 in Mpumalanga, Desmond Golding, told delegates at an event to promote 2010 business opportunities that prostitution and human trafficking were lucrative businesses.

2010 escorts will be welcome
The Star
March 27, 2009

Host-Making an Exercise in Corruption at FIFA

Investigative sports journalist Andrew Jennings discusses the corruption that plagues FIFA in this interview with SoccerLens from October. Many topics are discussed in this lengthy interview, including the process of determining World Cup hosts, which Jennings says is corrupt.

Andrew Jennings: There are only 24 men who decide the World Cup. They don’t let women in. Most of them are not thieves. I think they are all morally corrupt because nobody raises their hand and says ‘I want to get out of here. I don’t like what is going on. We are going to take our regional Confederations and break away. We don’t like these scum.’ Not in football. Not in sport. 24 are members of FIFA’s Executive Committee. President Blatter does not cast a deciding vote. You have three from CONCACAF, your part of the world, Chuck Blazer, one of the partners with a wonderful apartment in Trump Tower, you’ve got Jack Warner in Trinidad and Tobago, Rafael Seguero from Mexico, they represent you, all sports fans know that, they claim to speak for you, but they don’t want to talk to you or spend time with you. We have 8 in Europe because we are just a bigger footballing area, there are 3 or 4 out of the African continent, and one from Oceania. These are the guys who decide who gets the World Cup. A year ago, I presented a BBC programme documenting the bribes, how Germany won the votes to host the last World Cup in 2006.

SoccerLens: As a follow up to the last question, could you discuss if there were any irregularities about the bidding process for World Cup 2006?

Andrew Jennings: What you need to know for any World Cup bid, there is no accountability or transparency. Partly because they get away with it, and frankly, the coverage of journalists is not as good as it could be. Money has gone through Caribbean banks, or accounts in Lichtenstein. There is no question since Joao Havelange, the Brazilian, took over, in 1974, corruption immediately followed. Before him, there was the Englishman, Sir Stanley Rous. Now, I am not being patriotic about it, but Stan Rous was clean. He may have been a bit of a bumbling old fool, but he would never take a bribe.

Havelange with his gang arrived, and Sepp Blatter, and boy was football corrupt from then on. So bribes were paid for contracts, but in South Africa, the government had a policy that they would not pay bribes. Morocco paid. People who take bribes don’t always do what you ask of them. You can’t go to the police and say ‘I bribed that guy. He didn’t deliver the World Cup.’

Now what happened with Germany was, they had a very good position, they have great football tradition and Blatter behind them, Africa wasn’t going to vote for them, they were nearly there, they didn’t need many votes, so what happened, I’ve got the documents on this, there was one guy who stood to make the most money out of this was the German TV mogul, Leo Kirch. He has the biggest film library outside of Hollywood. He’s a very astute businessman. He has sports stations in Germany, if he could get the World Cup to Germany, he’d make a lot of money due to television rights.

Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals at FIFA
October 22, 2008

The History of Problems in World Cup Host Countries

Much has been made about the potential problems facing South Africa as it prepares to host the World Cup. But it's not the first host nation to encounter some stumbles. This post from SoccerLens provides a nice historical summary of some of the major problems host countries have faced -- from natural disasters to transit strikes to brutal totalitarian regimes.

A World Cup is undoubtedly the most anticipated and celebrated event on the football calendar. Every four years we are treated to a feast of football that comprises of the picturesque stadiums, the fanatical fans and the scintillating action unfolding on the pitch. Although with politics and sport often inextricably linked, there has rarely been a World Cup pass by without some form of controversy.

So with South Africa 2010 only just around the corner should we really be panicking about the potential problems that have been bandied around the media? It’s certainly difficult to tell at this stage but one thing for sure is that South Africa isn’t the first and clearly won’t be the last nation to be affected by the hullabaloo of hosting the football World Cup.

A World Coup? Host Nations and World Cup Catastrophes
March 27, 2009

Stadia On Track, Security Now the Concern

Confident that all 6 new stadia will be ready by the October deadline, Local Organizing Committee President Danny Jordaan is now shifting focus to security within the country.

About 450,000 supporters are expected to travel to South Africa for the World Cup - down from the two million that traveled to Germany in 2006.

Jordaan said security will be a high priority with questions raised over the country's crime record.

"We have committed 1.3bn South African Rand (US$138m) to increase the police force," Jordaan said.

SA 2010 venues 'ready by October'
March 26, 2009

2010 Ticket Requests Top 1 Million

Demand for the first batch of tickets for the 2010 World Cup has surpassed expectations, with more than a million online requests. This doesn't include South African applications presented at locations within the country, though local demand is expected to be relatively low.

By Thursday, online applications for more than one million tickets had been received from over 160 countries via Fifa.com for the 743 000 available tickets for sale at this stage.

This excludes any applications handed in by South African residents at FNB branches in the host country.

The number of applications has far exceeded Fifa and the Local Organising Committee’s expectations.

Million plus WC tickets wanted
Kick Off
March 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Taxi Group Boycotts BRT Negotiations in Johannesburg

One taxi industry group in Johannesburg is standing strong against the city's two-year old plans to implement a citywide bus rapid transit system. The taxi organization worries that the separated lanes for the bus system will cut into the taxi business.

The taxi industry signed a memorandum of agreement with the City of Johannesburg on the BRT in 2007 and a steering committee composed of representatives from the industry has been negotiating with the city on the subject.

However, Ralph Jones, chairman of the United Taxi Association Forum (Utaf), said the forum recalled its members from the steering committee last year because it "did not represent our interests … We will not sit in the same room with the BRT steering committee."

Rehana Moosajee, head of Johannesburg transport, who told the Mail & Guardian that the city is open to negotiation with Utaf, condemned the forum's attitude.


Utaf represents about 30 taxi associations in Gauteng -- about one-sixth of the region's 183 associations. It handed over a memorandum addressed to ANC president Jacob Zuma during Tuesday's strike.

Taxis cuss the bus
Mail & Guardian
March 27, 2009

World Cup Preparations Fuel Boom in Construction Industry

The constructions industry is flourishing as South Africa prepares for the 2010 World Cup.

South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup has proven to be a major catalyst for positive development in country - particularly for the construction industry.

As South Africa gears up to host the biggest single-code sporting event in the world, the construction work is ever increasing.

From upgrading the country's transport infrastructure, hotel and accommodation facilities to creating 10 world-class stadiums which are either being refurbished or built from scratch in nine host cities, local construction companies and their workers are receiving a major boost in tough economic times.

Construction workers 'real 2010 heroes'
South Africa info
March 24, 2009

Cape Town's Green Point Stadium 'On Track'

This video from the Times shows progress at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium, one of the new stadia being constructed for the 2010 tournament. The stadium will contain 68,000 seats for the World Cup, a total that will be reduced to 55,000 after the World Cup.

Green Point Stadium on track
The Times

Cities Will Be Ready, According to Government

Government officials in South Africa are quick to contend that the country's host cities will be ready to host the 2010 tournament, but low ticket sales for the 2009 Confederations Cup have many concerned about the local demand.

Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile was equally glowing, calling the meeting an enriching exercise.

"The stadiums are 99 percent complete," he said of the stadiums in the host cities. "We are now dealing with the overlays, such as the walkways."

Not a single city had asked for additional funding, he said. They had tightened their belts.

Deputy National Police Commissioner Andre Pruis agreed that everything was on track.

He said South Africa was well equipped and prepared to handle the security for such an event. In fact, security was so good that there had been only a single incident at the 141 major events staged since the advent of democracy.

Venues ready, but where are the fans?
Independent Online
March 20, 2009

Jordaan Assures UEFA That South Africa Will Be Ready

In a meeting with the Union of European Football Congress, 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa Dr Danny Jordaan assured officials that the country would be ready in time for the June 2010 tournament.

At the invitation of Uefa president Michel Platini, Jordaan assured Uefa member associations at the congress that South Africa's stadiums were on course to be completed by October this year, in line with its Fifa deadlines. He also updated them about the country's transport, safety and fan park plans for the first African World Cup, taking place in June next year.

A substantial number of the anticipated 450 000 international visitors who will travel to South Africa for the 2010 Fifa World Cup are expected to come from Europe, with the likes of England, the Netherlands and Germany traditionally having among the largest fan bases at tournaments.

"Already well over 800 000 applications have been received for the 743 000 tickets that have been made available in this first round of ticket sales, many of them coming from fans in Europe. This means that the tournament is already oversubscribed, but it is still of utmost importance that the associations know exactly what to expect in South Africa in 2010," said Jordaan.

Jordaan paints bright picture of 2010 plans
Independent Online
March 26, 2009

Qatar Hopes its 2022 World Cup Bid Will United the Middle East and the West

Qatar is looking towards its 2022 World Cup bid as a way to improve relations between the Middle East and the West. The wealthy country has announced the members of the committee in charge of bidding for the 2022 Cup, the host of which will be decided in December 2010.

The bid committee added Qatar soccer association president and former national team star Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Qatar Investment Authority legal department director Hassan Al-Thawadi.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the son of the emir, said holding the tournament in the Middle East would improve relations between the West and the Arab world.


The small but wealthy Gulf nation has used sports to try to boost its international profile, including hosting the Asian Games in 2006 and becoming a stop for several major tennis tournaments. Qatar will host the 2011 Asian Cup soccer tournament.

Qatar appoints members of World Cup bid team
The International Herald Tribune
March 24, 2009

The Dalai Denial Backfire

South Africa's denial of the Dalai Lama's visa request to enter the country for a peace conference has backfired, shifting focus away from World Cup -- seen by many within the country as a global reputation builder -- and towards politics. The country's close relations with China have some convinced that South Africa too worried more about maintaining business ties, rather than focusing on the human rights issues that have plagued the country for centuries.

Officials hoped that turning away Tibet's most famous monk would keep the "focus" on its upcoming 2010 World Cup soccer tournament and keep the games from being overshadowed by politics. But instead South Africa has kicked up a firestorm over its commitment to human rights and its increasingly close ties with China.

But as a nation that depends heavily on Chinese markets for buying its rich natural resources, South Africa has given the appearance of having chosen commerce over principle. It's a decision that could cost South Africa its moral voice on the global stage.

"Because of the role of the ANC during the liberal struggle against apartheid, South Africa was seen as a beacon of all things moral, a beacon of human rights," says Aubrey Matshiqi, a senior political analyst (and former member of the ANC, the ruling African National Congress) at the Center for Policy Studies in Johannesburg. "Unfortunately, the reality is that when the South African government was tested on its principles, it has fallen short."

Like China's own 2008 Summer Olympics, South Africa views its coming 2010 World Cup as a kind of coming-out party, and thus, not something to be messed up with politics.

South Africa turns away Dalai Lama, political firestorm follows
The Christian Science Monitor
March 26, 2009

Success on the Field, But African Demand for the Game Has Some Worried

As African nations enter the climactic stage of World Cup qualifying, the sport is experiencing an unprecedented success on the continent. African players are increasingly among the world's top players, earning some of the highest salaries. Investment in the African Champions League is also at an all-time high. But while the sport is benefiting, ticket sales for the upcoming Confederations Cup are disproportionate. Worries persist among many that the local audience for the Confederations Cup and the subsequent World Cup will be small.

Yet football's world governing body is concerned that when the best teams in the world arrive for next year's finals, there might be few locals to watch them. Although global ticket demand for the World Cup is high, the local pick-up has been slow and FIFA is unhappy with South Africa's marketing for its forthcoming tournaments. "There isn't a single promotion of the events, even when you arrive at the airport," secretary general Jerome Valcke lamented earlier this month.

This might partly explain the poor ticket sales ahead of June's Confederations Cup, the eight-team tournament featuring the various continental champions not to mention the last World Cup winners too: Italy being joined by Brazil, Spain, Iraq, New Zealand, America, Egypt and the hosts. Yet with just three months to go, little more than a quarter of the tickets have been snapped up.


As the African Diaspora flourishes, the game is also advancing back home - at least monetarily. While the continent's domestic football will always be plagued by inadequate pitches, poor preparation, nutrition, salaries, administration and of course, corruption, sponsors are now pumping record amounts of money into the African Champions League.

African eyes all turn to World Cup
March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Despite Troubled Past, Stadia Warm Up to Standing Areas

This piece from Pitch Invasion examines the history of standing areas in soccer stadia, especially in the UK, where they have been stigmatized by a crush of fans that resulted in 96 deaths in 1989. But as this piece counters, it wasn't the standing area that caused the problem, it was lax enforcement and monitoring of crowds.

Now some stadium planners are warming up to the idea of including standing areas, as many find these areas to be much more vibrant spaces -- and most people are standing at the games anyway.

With the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster approaching, it would seem to be curious timing for a return to standing to be on the national agenda again.

But that’s exactly what is happening.

The movement towards reintroducing standing at the top levels of English football is gaining momentum. A little lower in the ladder, this month it was announced that League Two’s Morecambe are set to become the first English league club to incorporate safe standing areas into their new stadium.

Perhaps more significantly, especially given their proximity to Anfield, Everton’s chief executive Keith Wyness told a parliamentary seminar his club would consider including safe standing areas at their new ground.


Meanwhile, the model of the Bundesliga — with their technologically impressive convertible standing/seating areas to meet UEFA mandates for European matches — has been much praised by advocates of standing. Schalke 04’s amazing Veltins-Arena can accommodate 61,524 spectators (standing and seated) for Bundesliga games, and 53,994 for European matches. Domestically, the North stand provides standing (capacity: 16,307) and is converted to seats for European competition (capacity: 8,600).

Safe Standing, Twenty Years On From Hillsborough
Pitch Invasion
March 22, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Recession Weighs Heavily as Hopeful Hosts Convene in Denver

Olympic planners and hopeful representatives of prospective future host cities are in Denver this week for a conference on international sporting events. The downturn in the economy is a major focus of the meetings, especially for London, where the recession's timing has been unfortunate for the city's 2012 preparations.

The recession forms the backdrop to the SportAccord convention and International Olympic Committee executive board meetings in Denver, the biggest gathering of international sports officials in the United States since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

More than 1,000 delegates are expected to attend the conference, which will feature key public presentations Wednesday by the four candidates for the 2016 Olympics -- Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. With six months to go before the Oct. 2 vote in Copenhagen, the cities are trying to position themselves as the most financially secure to cope with the downturn.


Despite the pressures, London organizers remain confident they will come within the overall 9.325 billion pound ($13.6 billion) budget for venues, infrastructure and regeneration. The figure is more than double the original estimate.

Recession forms backdrop of Olympic conference
Sports Illustrated
March 23, 2009

Vancouver to use 2010 Olympics to Build Connections, Boost Reputation

Vancouver is preparing to play host not only to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but also the the international cadre of mayors, officials and royalty that are expected to come to town for the games. The city is hoping to use the games to build tighter bonds with other cities and officials, and are thinking of the Olympics as an opportunity to improve the city's global reputation.

Come Games-time, visitors will include sports and IOC bigwigs, international mayors, 25 heads of government and state and 10 royalty.

Playing host to so many guests “offers the City of Vancouver a unique opportunity to enhance and strengthen the City’s global reputation,” according to a report from outgoing Olympic services general manager Dave Rudberg.

No doubt, local elected representatives will have their hands full. Each day of the Olympics, Vancouver’s mayor and council could host or attend as many as two luncheons, fourteen courtesy calls, five evening receptions, six competitions and three after-dinner events such as visits to medal ceremonies.

Vancouver’s ‘global reputation’ rests on 2010 Games plan
The Tyee
March 24, 2009

ANC Calls on eThekwini to Reclaim Public Transit System

The African National Congress is urging the eThekwini municipality to resume control over its public transport system after financial issues forced the private company that had taken it over to halt service two weeks ago.

The eThekwini Municipality’s bus service collapsed two weeks ago. The city announced the service had been suspended due to financial problems at Remant Alton, a private company which runs the city’s bus service.

Thousands of commuters were left stranded and there have been reports of commuters who worked until late at night having to sleep in public toilets because of lack of transport.

The municipality privatised the municipal fleet for R70 million in 2003 because the National Land Transport Transition Act stipulated that municipalities with transport authorities should not run buses.

ANC urges eThekwini to take back buses
March 23, 2009

Taxi Drivers Upset About BRT Plans in Johannesburg

Taxi drivers in Johannesburg are staging protests over plans to set up a bus rapid transit system in the city -- a move that would cut into the taxi business. Nearly 500 taxis would be removed from the streets where BRT is set to come in. The first stage of the system is scheduled to come online in June.

The BRT system will consist of bus trunk routes around Johannesburg and taxi drivers were worried that they would ultimately be pushed off the routes.

The first phase of the approximately 50km trunk route is expected to be in place by June 1 2009. It would run from Regina Mundi church in Soweto, past the Orlando and FNB stadiums and end at Ellis Park stadium.

About 500 taxis were expected to be scrapped or taken out of routes, with plans to make taxi drivers bus drivers, the taxi industry's BRT steering committee told the media on Monday.

The taxi industry is currently thrashing out a R2,5-billion contract with the city to become part of the first phase.

Taxi drivers call for Jeff Radebe's head
Mail & Guardian
March 24, 2009

Infrastructure Moving On Schedule in KwaZulu-Natal

Officials in KwaZulu-Natal are confident about the timely completion of local projects related to the World Cup -- including Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and a new international airport in nearby La Mercy.

Addressing editors on the province’s readiness for the soccer tournament, Premier Sbu Ndebele said the 2010 projects were well on track.

This included the R6-billion Moses Mabhida Stadium, the new King Shaka International Airport and the Dube Tradeport in Durban’s La Mercy area.

Ndebele allayed fears that the stadium was going to be a white elephant after the World Cup.

"The stadium will not be a white elephant post 2010. The stadium will incorporate a museum and a multimedia centre which will tell the story of the Zulu people and the people of KwaZulu-Natal."

KZN ‘will meet 2010 deadlines’
February 12, 2009

Confederations Cup Organizers Stressing Over Low Ticket Sales

Low ticket sales for the 2009 Confederations Cup have event organizers and World Cup boosters uneasy about the local response the the international tournaments.

Fifa and the Local Organising Committee have persuaded South African Rugby, Cricket South Africa, Cosatu and the ZCC to help promote the tournament.

In spite of the world’s leading teams coming to South Africa to take part, ticket sales have been disappointing.

The chief marketing officer of the LOC, Derek Carstens, said: “We want to encourage South Africans to take ownership of this tournament, to see themselves as hosts, and the best way is to go out and fill the stadiums and welcome the teams and visitors to our country."

Divine inspiration sought for Cup
The Times
March 19, 2009

Many SA Businesses Not Savvy About World Cup's Potential

Some business people in South Africa are concerned that local businesses aren't doing enough to capitalize on the extra attention brought to the country by the World Cup

There is concern that marketing efforts have not sufficiently taken off to excite South Africans about the event. There also appears to be confusion about who is responsible for marketing strategies and implementation.

Most tickets to the World Cup thus far have been sold to people overseas.


BBDO said projected benefits for South Africa include about 415000 new jobs and an additional R55.7-billion to gross domestic product next year. About R2-billion spent on new stadiums will benefit low-income households. Two million international tourists are expected between 2007 and 2015, R11.7-billion investment on transport infrastructure, R25-million in sports development and R212-million in school and community sport.

Companies blind to 2010 opportunities
The Times
March 16, 2009

Prostitution Out of Swaziland's World Cup Hopes

Officials in neighboring Swaziland have announced that they plan to enforce an 19th Century law forbidding prostitution. Some in the country had suggested lifting the ban might be a good way to boost tourism revenue.

Swaziland hopes to benefit from a predicted influx of hundreds of thousands of football fans for the tournament in South Africa in June next year.

A spokesman for the local organising committee, Bongani Dlamini, had earlier told local media that the issue was being looked into.

No prostitutes for World Cup
Agence France Presse
January 14, 2009
(Kind of old, but I had to)

South Africa Chosen as Safe Alternative for Indian Cricket Tournament

Amid concerns over crime and attacks related to the country's upcoming elections, the 2009 Indian Premier League will move out of India and take place in South Africa. The tournament is set to begin in April, and South Africa was chosen as the neutral-ground host over England, bolstering the country's credibility as an able host for major international events.

"This is a great compliment to both CSA and our nation to be shown this confidence in our ability to hold one of the world's top sporting events at short notice," said Cricket South Africa's CEO, Gerald Majola.

The tournament will feature 59 matches from 18 April 2009, and fixtures will be announced in due course.

The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India announced Sunday that it was shifting the Indian Premier League (IPL) out of the country because the tournament would coincide with general elections.

There were also concerns about a recent attack on a Sri Lankan cricket team in neighboring Pakistan, as well as a lingering sentiment about the November terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

South Africa will host IPL Twenty20 cricket
Match 24, 2009

Tourist Project Gathering Steam in KwaZulu-Natal

A 20 billion Rand (~$4.25 billion US) theme development is being built in KwaZulu-Natal, but there are concerns about the future of the plan and the ambiguity of the agreement.

A spectacular model of the theme park, to be built on 16 500ha of land north of the Tugela River, was unveiled in Dubai in October.

However, Macambini residents have expressed concern that the development could force people to move off their ancestral land.

The issue was further muddied when another Dubai firm, Sports Cities International, said it had been given the right to develop the area.

Clarity sought on R20bn tourist project
Cape Argus
March 24, 2009

Dalai Lama Denied SA Visa For Peace Conference

On the advice of Chinese officials, South Africa has denied a visa to the Dalai Lama, who was set to visit South Africa for a meeting to try to lay out a plan to use the excitement and investment around the World Cup to improve civil rights. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President FW De Klerk have backed out of the meeting.

The Dalai Lama had planned to join other Nobel peace laureates at a conference to discuss ways of using football to fight racism and xenophobia ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"It is true that South Africa, under intense pressure from the Chinese authorities, have denied a visa to the Dalai Lama," spokesperson Thubten Samphel told reporters.

SA denies visa for the Dalai Lama
Independent Online
March 23, 2009

More on the background of China-SA economic relations:

Over the past two years, South Africa has been China's key trade partner in Africa, accounting for 20.8 percent of China's trade with Africa, while Chinese foreign direct investment in South Africa was about $6 billion (R60bn), and South Africa's foreign direct investment in China came to $2bn (R20bn).

Dai Bing, ministerial counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria, confirmed that his government had appealed to the South African government not to allow the Dalai Lama into the country, warning that if it did so, this would harm bilateral relations.


Independent Online
March 22, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brazil Ready to Learn From South Africa for 2014

A recent global business and marketing conference focused on the World Cup brought 2014 host country officials into close contact with 2010 host country officials. The Soccerex conference was held in Brazil, which hopes to utilize its 2014 hosting chance as an opportunity for broad civic improvement in the country.

Orlando Silva, the Brazilian minister of sport, said the 2014 World Cup will offer his country many opportunities to improve their infrastructure, adding that they also hope to learn a lot from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“The 2014 World Cup will also help us fast-track community developments. We will also be able to develop the business part of football,” Silva said.


Gauteng will host the next three editions of the Soccerex forum, from 2010 to 2013.

In November this year, Gauteng will also host the last of its three Soccerex conferences, which are usually attended by the top brass from Fifa, including president Sepp Blatter.


From next year until 2013, the Soccerex conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil .

Gauteng praised for role in Soccerex forum
March 20, 2009

Luxury Accommodations Already In High Demand

Luxury suites a the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the Eastern Cape are already halfway sold out. Organizers are expecting a large amount of big spending firms and people to pay high rates for accommodations during the 2010 games.

Top packages for luxury suites at the city‘s new stadium would cost from $307200 (about R3-million) for 24 VIP guests at a series of matches – and five of the 10 available had already been sold, Match Hospitality regional manager Edgar Baron said. He added that “PetroSA and other people” involved in the Coega development project were among those who had booked the suites.

The price – which includes VIP entrance, catered cordon bleu meals, drinks, and mementos – works out at R125000 for each VIP for the eight matches involved, or about R15600 a head a match.

Meanwhile, local fans will be able to sit in ordinary seats for as little as R140, information issued previously by cup organisers shows. They will be able to eat and drink strictly sponsors-only products.

Firms spending millions on World Cup luxury
The Herald
March 23, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cable Car On its Way to Durban Stadium

Part of a variety of attractions to be included in the new Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a cable car will be delivered soon the the stadium. The car is planned to climb up the iconic arch that will tower over the stadium.

It's part of a plan to lure tourists to the site even after the World Cup. Developers are also hoping to attract retailers to the area for a proposed shopping complex. The economic element will be crucial to the city, where stadium maintenance expenses are estimated to total 28 billion Rand (about $2.9 billion US) over the next 50 years.

The cable car, which is to be delivered within weeks, will scale the northern arch, while an "adventure walk" consisting of 550 steps leading to a viewing platform at the top of the arch will be constructed on the southern arch, Durban's strategic project unit head, Julie-May Ellingson, said.

News of the cable car delivery comes after it was announced last year that the city's budget constraints may scupper its ambitious plans, including a bungee rope swing, cable car and adventure walk.


Speaking at a media tour organised by Group 5, the biggest development partner in the Group Five/Pandev/WBHO consortium that is building the stadium, Ellingson said there had also been unprecedented interest from businesses considering setting up shop in the 7 200 square metre retail area. A supermarket retail opportunity, combined with a sport retailer, are expected to be given leases in the retail sector.

Money generated through the tourism activities and retail area would help offset the titanic maintenance bill associated with the stadium.

Documents leaked to the Daily News last year indicated that the city would have to fork out at least R28-billion over the next 50 years to maintain the facility.

R35m cable car for KZN 2010 stadium
Independent Online
March 19, 2009

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Limpopo Province Plans 16 Fan Parks for World Cup

The provincial government of Limpopo has identified 16 sites to serve as fan viewing areas during the 2010 World Cup. Nationally, the government has plans to support 47 fan parks during the games. All of these fan parks will be free to enter.

The venues include Lesley Manyathela Stadium in Musina, Makhado Showgrounds, NkowaNkowa Stadium, BelaBela Stadium and Lebowakgomo Stadium .

NkowaNkowa Stadium will also be used as a pilot project during the Confederations Cup in June .

Pandelani Ramagoma, Limpopo’s World Cup project coordinator, said they wanted to ensure that all people in the province have access to the tournament.

Limpopo plans 16 fan parks
March 18, 2009

$2.6 Billion Invested in SA Rail

South Africa's transport department has invested the equivalent of about $2.6 billion US in rail countrywide, and has formed a new agency to oversee the country's various train systems.

(Editor's Note: This brief article from SABC News does not indicate over what time frame this amount of money has been invested, and randomly mentions a bus rapid transit system. I'll look out for more concrete facts.)

The transport department has invested R25 billion to upgrade train travel. Minister Jeff Radebe made the announcement when announcing a new transport enterprise, known as the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa. The Agency will replace the old SA Rail Commuters Corporation. It will incorporate Metrorail, long distance rail division Shosholoza, Translux, as well as City to City.

At the launch, Radebe called on taxi and bus operators to participate in making the Bus Rapid Transit system a success. Taxi associations have threatened to disrupt the Confederations Cup and the 2010 Soccer World Cup if the system is implemented. Radebe says BRT will benefit all stakeholders.

Govt invests billions to upgrade SA’s train system
March 20, 2009

Cheaper Tickets Reserved for South Africans

About 16% of tickets to be available for the 2010 World Cup are being set aside specifically for South Africans. Concerns over citizens' ability to afford access to the event in their own country spurred FIFA to reserve the most affordable tickets for locals.

In order to facilitate the access of ordinary South African football fans to a tournament that might otherwise be beyond their reach, Fifa has blocked off about 16% of the tickets -- all the cheapest category four tickets -- for South African residents.

These tickets start at R140, "which is the cheapest price of a World Cup ticket for many, many years," David Will, head of the Fifa sub-ticketing committee told a media ticketing seminar in Johannesburg.

World Cup's cheapest tickets reserved for South Africans
Mail & Guardian
February, 18, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Booted From Confederations Cup, Port Elizabeth's Stadium Now Ahead of the Curve

Cut as a host for the 2009 Confederations because of development delays, the stadium in Port Elizabeth is now nearly constructed -- and on track to be the first of the country's new stadia completed. The irony is not lost on blogger Craig Urquhart.

Jordaan was able to walk on the newly laid pitch and take in a view of a venue that has 40 000 of its 48 000 seats already installed. More than half of the 36 girders that will support the roof have been erected, and the columns, slabs, precast seating, precast raking beams and moat are already complete.

Like every other 2010 stadium, it has come at a price. The initial cost was estimated at R250-million, but this rose to R1,2-billion a year ago and it now stands at R1,95-billion, of which the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality will have to pay 10%.

Rags to riches for PE
Mail and Guardian Sports Leader Blog
February 5, 2009

Columnist Foresees World Cup as Low Point for Democratic South Africa

At a recent dinner party in the U.S., conversation came around to the 2010 World Cup. As Mail and Guardian columnist Llewellyn Kriel writes, the general prediction of the Cup's effect on the country were not very good.

And, of course, the trillion-rand question: What’s going to happen when the world arrives on SA’s doorstep for the World Cup next year?

We all know there are no simple answers to any of these questions. There’s no point whatsoever in calling their validity into question — they are the prevailing, ubiquitous and very, very real perceptions that exist outside of the isolation wards in which our authorities cocoon themselves. The questions, comments and criticisms carry no malice. Only astonishment. Astonishment at how out of touch our leaders are, how determinedly arrogant, how doggedly ignorant the masses, how we insist on trying to drive forward with glazed eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror, how morally, ethically, socially, economically and politically corrupt we are.


The consensus view by midnight was that it’s “such a pity” — so much promise squandered, so many possibilities dead or terminally ill. And that the World Cup will indeed happen, but it will be a mere wispy disappointing shadow of the success it could have been, that we lack the capacity to protect our visitors, or organise “cracker events” or even muster a plausible national team.

Then came the bombshell observation — that rather than being the zenith of our 16 years of “democracy”, the World Cup will be its nadir, a developmental dip so frightening that it will galvanise us to get serious about progress.

The 2010 World Cup — nadir rather than zenith for SA
Mail & Guardian
February 2, 2009

U.S., England Lead World Cup Ticket Buying

Foreign buyers are making up the vast majority of ticket holders for 2010 World Cup Games. U.S. and England are home to the main buyers. Tickets are being released for sale on a staggered schedule, but in the month since the first release, available tickets are already sold out for 28 of the tournament's 64 games.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said following an executive committee meeting Friday that at least 28 of the 64 matches for next year's tournament have sold out, and close to 800,000 tickets have been sold.

On a separate note, countries planning to bid on future World Cups will also face new limitations.

At the executive committee meeting, FIFA decided to limit lobbying by candidates to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Bid teams can have three accredited people attend the FIFA Congress on June 2-3 in the Bahamas and three tournaments being played in Africa this year — the Confederations Cup, the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt and the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria. Bidders may not mount exhibitions until the 2010 FIFA Congress in South Africa.

The United States, England, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Qatar, Russia and South Korea are bidding, plus joint candidates Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal. The 24-man executive committee will vote in December 2010.

England, US leading World Cup ticket buyers
Associated Press
March 20, 2009

Securing South Africa's Airspace

Police forces in South Africa are training for possible airstrikes during the upcoming Confederations Cup and World Cup.

...[T]his week's joint defence force and police training simulation, dubbed "Exercise Shield 3" was aimed at testing their ability to secure airspace during high visibility events.

The operation at Swartkops airbase included a staged hijacking of an aircraft and a demonstration of how two Hawk fighter planes can intercept a hijacked plane, forcing it to land.

The simulation also made use of bomb disposal units, hostage negotiators, sniffer dogs, and a remote-controlled robot.

SAPS Director David Garnett said the intervention teams would be deployed in all host cities to deal with any threats relating to the soccer event.

Security forces get ready for Fifa tournament
Independent Online
March 21, 2009

Crime Concerns Top LOC Agenda

The Local Organizing Committee is focusing on allaying fears over violent crime in South Africa, and the country plans to boost police numbers nationwide for the 2010 event.

Since South Africa was awarded the tournament four years ago, critics have roused rampant speculation over the country's readiness to host it - not least because of the incidence of crime, with some 50 murders a day.

Rapes and violent robberies have also reached a level which other African nations recently classified as intolerable.

South Africa will deploy 41 000 police officers specifically for the World Cup, all of whom will be sent for specialised training in crowd control.

More generally, a massive recruitment drive since 2004 will increase general police numbers by 55 000 to 200 000, he added, while millions of dollars are being spent on helicopters, body armour and high-tech bomb disabling equipment.

Safety on LOC's top of the agenda
Independent Online
December 15, 2008

More Than 500 Emergency Services Positions Needed in Cape Town

The city of Cape Town's emergency services are dramatically understaffed, with 567 positions open. Most positions are in the city's Metro Police, and the shortage of staff has bolstered some concerns about safety during the World Cup.

The city's safety and security committee has been taken by surprise by staffing situation, but officials have moved to allay their fears saying they had received thousands of applications for the jobs advertised, and the time taken to process them had contributed to the delay.

More than 300 of the vacancies exist in the Metro Police, traffic and law enforcement departments, while emergency services requires 139 more staff. Vacancies also exist in the finance, logistics and training and strategic support.

World Cup security drastically short of staff
Independent Online
March 6, 2009

FIFA Dismisses Low Sales for Confederations Cup

Sales for the Confederations Cup are low, prompting some concern about the success of the tournament, seen as a test run before the World Cup main event in 2010. Sales for the World Cup, however, are high since tickets became available in February -- mainly due to a large international demand from countries such as the United States and England.

Officials in South Africa proposed plans on Tuesday to sell group tickets to companies and fan clubs in an attempt to boost interest in the Confederations Cup, the test event for 2010.

"We have one concern about the Confederations Cup and that is the ticketing," Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters after soccer's governing body held an executive committee meeting."

"Valcke said two thirds of the World Cup tickets had gone to the international market, with fans in the United States and England buying the most."

"Demand will pick up further once fans know which teams have qualified and following December's draw."

"The global financial crisis has yet to cause any major disruption to South Africa's plans. World Cups generate 95 percent of Fifa's revenues."

Fifa plays down 2010 World Cup ticket
Independent Online
March 20 2009

Officials Concerned About Low Ticket Sales Amongst South Africans

Deputy President Baleka Mbete is urging South Africans to buy tickets for the 2010 World Cup, as well as the Confederations Cup tournament that's scheduled to begin June 16, 2009.

She said that countries like America, Europe and Japan were showing much more interest in tickets than local supporters.

"We really are not happy at the rate at which people are buying tickets. It will be sad to have our stadiums full of people from elsewhere and not of people from here," she said.

During an inter-ministerial committee meeting on 2010 in Pretoria where host cities and stakeholders reported on their readiness for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, some concerns have arisen over on e of the four host cities for the Confederations Cup.

Mbete said the committee was happy with the progress except for the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit. The other three host cities had reported that they were on track.

Mbete urges locals to buy 2010 tickets
Independent Online
March 19, 2009

Spectre of SA Crime Hangs Heavy Over World Cup

Perceptions about South Africa's high rate of violent crime are going to be a challenge for the country as it aims to attract tourists for the 2010 World Cup, according to a tourism expert.

"The government predicts an estimated 400 000 people will visit the country during the 30-day event."

"But Linda Pereira, a business tourism expert from Portugal, says authorities might find that figure difficult to achieve if the country continues to receive negative publicity abroad."

"Pereira said staging an incident-free World Cup would be 'a test by fire' for the country's tourism industry."

"She said the soccer spectacular could either be an overwhelming success and attract more mega sporting and business events, or be a disaster, which could have dire effects for the country's flourishing tourism sector."

SA crime myths may ruin World Cup attendance
Independent Online
March 10 2009

Tickets on Sale for 2010 World Cup

Ticket sales for the 2010 World Cup opened to the public on Friday, February 20. The first batch of tickets publicly available number 740,000.

"* Just over 3 million tickets will be available for the 64 matches of the tournament, to be played in 10 different venues across South Africa

* Around 1.5 million tickets will be sold to the public. This is divided into 740,000 tickets on sale from Friday; 570,000 made available later in the year to supporters of qualified countries and 344,000 to those who buy tickets through an official tour operator

* World Cup sponsors are entitled to 550,000 tickets with a further 380,000 for hospitality rights holders. TV rights holders are entitled to 66,000 tickets

* FIFA will keep 200,000 tickets for member associations who do not qualify, give 89,600 to each participating country's football association and give the local organising committee 91,000 tickets to distribute"

FACTBOX - Tickets for the 2010 World Cup
February 18, 2009

Shakeup in Administration Raises Questions About LOC

The political upheaval in Fall 2008 caused confusion about which members of the government will remain involved in the Local Organizing Committee.

"Those concerned are former minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, who chairs the marketing and communications committee on the LOC board; former minister of provincial and local government Sydney Mufamadi, who chairs the host cities committee; and former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi, who chairs the 2010 finance committee and is a member of the LOC's technical inspection team."

"'It is understood that the LOC would wait for the cabinet to give a directive after a meeting scheduled for next week on whether the trio would be replaced,' the news report said."

"Local organising committee director of communications Tim Modise said: 'We don't know if they are going to retained'."

South Africa's World Cup 2010: Charm and confusion
The Sofia Echo
October 5, 2008

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Money Needed for Stadium Construction

Stadium construction is climbing high over original estimates.

"South Africa's 2010 World Cup preparations have been hit by overruns in stadium construction costs, but all venues are on track to be completed on time, a government official said Wednesday."

"Stadium construction costs have ballooned from 7.8 billion rand (985 million dollars, 660 million euros) in 2004 to 9.2 billion."

"Moleketi emphasised that Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, which was recently excluded from hosting the Confederations Cup in June 2009 due to construction delays, will be ready for 2010."

Cost for SAfrica 2010 World Cup stadiums shoot up
August 13, 2008

Africa Misses Chance for 2022 World Cup

No African countries have bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Under rotation rules, this would have been the first World Cup the region could host after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"Egypt was one African country thought to be considering a tilt at 2022 after Fifa included it on a list of potential bidders to have expressed an initial interest in staging the tournament."

"However, the Egyptian Football Association subsequently denied it had any interest in making a bid."

"Nine countries are interested in staging the tournament in either 2018 or 2022, while two (Qatar and South Korea) are just bidding for 2022."

No African bid for 2022 World Cup
March 17, 2009

Bids in to Host 2018 and 2022 World Cups

Eleven bids representing 13 countries were submitted by the March 16 deadline to vie for hosting duties of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. FIFA will choose the hosts for the events in December 2010.

"Applications for both tournaments were received by yesterday’s deadline from Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the U.S., along with joint bids from Belgium- Netherlands and Spain-Portugal, soccer governing body FIFA said on its Web site."

March 17, 2009