It’s a go! Bay’s 2010 stadium gets nod

Posted On Wednesday, 07 May 2008 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Intense speculation over Nelson Mandela Bay’s ability to host the Confederations Cup next year has finally been laid to rest.

2010Intense speculation over Nelson Mandela Bay’s ability to host the Confederations Cup next year has finally been laid to rest, with Fifa confirming it as a host city for the event.

The announcement has been met with great optimism from both organised business and tourism in the Bay.

On Tuesday, Fifa confirmed Nelson Mandela Bay would be a host city for the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, between June 14 and 28 next year, along with Tshwane, Johannesburg, Mangaung and Rustenburg (Loftus Versfeld, Ellis Park, the Bloemfontein Stadium and the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace).

The confirmation follows meetings between the Local Organising Committee and a delegation led by executive mayor Nondumiso Maphazi, who reassured the LOC board that all preparations were on track, and the stadium would be ready by the Fifa timeframe of March 2009.

Nelson Mandela Bay 2010 director Errol Heyns said he had always been confident the city would be included in the tournament.

“Today’s announcement confirms what we have always said – that we are not behind schedule. Our programme was tight from the beginning and we were expected to deliver within two months whereas we had issues of staff holidays and health to deal with.”

Going forward, Heyns said the city planned to change the perception of risk associated with the stadium in the past. As a result of the announcement, Heyns said the city had gained confidence to “double our efforts” to deliver a successful competition.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Roland Williams said the announcement was in line with the municipality’s expectations. “Of course, our journey to become successful hosts only starts now, and we encourage all residents and stakeholders to get into the Confederations Cup groove.”

LOC chairman Irvin Khoza said the country had been encouraged by the progress the city had made, but stressed the thumbs up was conditional.

He said the Bay needed to keep up the momentum as its progress would be monitored intensely.

“It really is exciting and encouraging to finally see the pressure come off because this matter has been a headache to everyone concerned. We will monitor the situation carefully and if the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium or any of the five stadiums we propose using for the Confederations Cup fails to meet timelines and deadlines then they will be booted out.”

Khoza explained that the Port Elizabeth stadium had been given special treatment because it was the only new stadium to be used for the Confederations Cup.

“This goes to show that the city has the potential to handle huge projects ... One needs to applaud them for the job well- done,” he said.

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said Fifa felt it was important that the Nelson Mandela Bay venue be ready and part of the Confederations Cup. But he warned: “If they fail to meet the criteria and deadlines we have set we will have no option but to pull the plug on the stadium.”

Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Odwa Mtati said the announcement was positive news for the region. He said the Confederations Cup would allow for a “dry run” ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

“There will also be great direct benefits from (the Confederations Cup) in terms of income generated, etc.” he said.

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism spokesman Connie Buso also welcomed the announcement. “This is very good news from a tourism perspective.”

Buso said there would be many positive spin-offs from hosting the Confederations Cup, including promoting the region as a destination for 2010. “There will be a lot of exposure of the city through the (Confederations Cup) and we are hoping this will bring even more visitors to Nelson Mandela Bay in 2010.”

She added that the announcement was also good news for those in the accommodation sector.

Meanwhile, Valcke said Fifa and the LOC had agreed that the lowest ticket prices for the event would be $10 (R75). The most expensive would be $200 (R1500). All tickets sold in South Africa would be sold in rands at a fixed exchange rate. Wheelchairs and their pushers would be charged $10 (R75) at all matches.

LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan made a passionate appeal for all South African to support the tournament.

He said: “Fifa have come to the party and have made ticket prices accessible to all South Africans. It is very important we support the Confederations Cup.”

Jordaan added that not only should Port Elizabeth ensure the stadium was ready on time, but the organisers had to fill the stadium.

The teams involved are Bafana, Italy, Brazil, the United States, Iraq, Egypt, plus the champions of Europe and Oceania, which are still to be decided.

 

Last modified on Friday, 01 November 2013 09:59

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