S.Africa makes 2010 World Cup stadia pledge

July 13, 2006

South Africa's 2010 World Cup stadia will not gather cobwebs after the conclusion of the tournament, according to the competition's organising committee (OC).

World Cup 2002 hosts Japan and South Korea have failed to fully capitalise on the stadia built for the tournament, while venues constructed for the 2004 Athens Olympics are not in regular use and are proving expensive to maintain.

Finalising the planning process for South Africa's stadia is expected to begin at the end of the year and the OC has a clear idea of what it wants to develop.

OC communications manager Tumi Makgabo believes a more modest ethos of function over beauty can ensure a lasting legacy in South Africa after 2010.

Makgabo said: 'What's key for us is not that we look to build these amazingly beautiful stadia but to make sure that they are functional beyond 2010.

'They need to be used by the communities around them, people must have access to them and they have to be financially sustainable.

'We don't want to have the situation where we build these spectacular structures that are simply too expensive to maintain.

'We want to reach that healthy mix of a modern stadium that meets FIFA standards and caters for the audiences and fans, but at the same time will have longevity beyond 2010.'

Germany's Bundesliga boasts the top average attendances of any European league, ensuring that the stadia will be fully utilised after the tournament, but that is not the case with South Africa's Premier Soccer League (PSL).

'Even though we have the PSL we don't have those numbers here so I don't think it makes sense for us to build stadia that are going to rival some of the biggest and best in the world,' Makgabo said.

'It's really important for us to ensure that 2010 is not just a great experience for everyone involved but is also something that is of benefit for the people of South Africa, leading up to 2010, during the tournament and also beyond.'