Page last updated at 00:15 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Jordaan ready for final World Cup push

By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News, Johannesburg

Dr Danny Jordann, chief executive of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, talks to the BBC
Dr Danny Jordaan admits World Cup budgets may be revised

The chief executive of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Dr Danny Jordaan, has a lot on his plate at the moment.

On Sunday he was at a meeting of the South African Football Association, now he is at the Soccerex football business event in Johannesburg, and on Friday he will be in Cape Town for the World Cup draw.

So how is he feeling?

"I am feeling the tension," he says.

"But it is an extremely exciting time ahead of the World Cup draw - I am always on the go."

We meet in the upmarket Michelangelo Towers hotel in the Sandton district, as World Cup organising committee officials buzz around trying to sort out his busy schedule of engagements.

It is an indication of his high standing, and heavy responsibility, in the football world, that media from all around the world are also waiting for the chance to speak to him.

'Testing capabilities'

"We are happy with the state of World Cup preparations," he says, seated amongst the flowing plants of the plush lobby.

We are seeing the transformation of the construction industry in South Africa
Chief executive, World Cup 2010

"Most of the construction of stadiums is now complete, and work on the perimeter of stadiums is now being carried out.

"We feel comfortable that everything at stadiums will be ready early next year, in fact we are now testing stadium capabilities, for example there was a game in Durban at the weekend."

When Fifa carried out its assessment report of progress following the Confederations Cup this summer it gave South Africa an overall rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Areas of concern that it highlighted were accommodation, transport and security.

Workers put finishing touches to the Nelspruit World Cup stadium
The World Cup will leave a host of new stadiums in South Africa

"We are expecting roughly 450,000 supporters from around the world to come to South Africa next year, and we know they need a bed to sleep in and transport to and from venues," he says.

"The World Cup draw on Friday will help us to fine-tune our accommodation and transportation.

"Once the fixtures are revealed we will know what is required in each venue city. For example the demand to see North Korea play New Zealand will be less than for an England game."

However, he says that the organising committee has already decided it needs 1,000 more buses and 200 more aircraft.

And he says that if major sides like Brazil are drawn to play in a smaller town, then airports will be kept open longer to ensure everyone is able to get in and out.

On the security issue he points out that South Africa has hosted a number of international sporting events - from the rugby union world cup in 1995 to the Indian Premier League cricket in 2009 - without serious incident.

Budget review

The organising committee had previously estimated a budget of 3.2bn rand (£263m, $431m) to run the World Cup, but he now admits they are "probably 10% over what we envisaged as our budget".

"We have been impacted by the global economic circumstances like everyone," he points out.

"We have to look at the budget further and carry out a final review, and are now engaged in that, but it does seem that there will be some budget over-runs."

However, he is proud to point out what has been achieved for South Africa in terms of infrastructure development around the World Cup.

"There have been major upgrades to the airports in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and a new one built in Durban," he says.

The airports have been built not only for the World Cup, but for the post-tournament tourism boost which the country hopes to experience.

Action from England v Brazil in Qatar in November
Fans of major football nations will be looking for accommodation

South Africa is looking for the 10 million visitors figure predicted for 2010 to swell to 14 million by 2015.

"That means our airport capacities have had to increase," says Dr Jordaan.

"We have also been constructing, and upgrading, roads."

One transport project which many had envisaged being ready for the next year, the Gautrain - a rapid transport train system linking Johannesburg, Pretoria and Oliver Tambo International Airport - is not now included in the World Cup equation.

"The Gautrain was never a 2010 project, it had a completion date for 2014 - however we will see if we can maybe get part of it running by the World Cup, but it is unlikely."

Telecoms is another economic segment that he says has been boosted by the demands of the World Cup, with games being broadcast in HDTV, and also available on a mobile phone platform.

Skills knowledge

As well as at the macro level, Dr Jordaan has also promised to use the World Cup to encourage entrepreneurship among the black African population, and to support the establishment of small, medium and micro businesses.

"We have seen this in the construction of the stadiums. Although the major contracts have gone to the big construction firms, we have seen small black companies getting the opportunity for sub-contracting work," he says.

"We are seeing the transformation of the construction industry in South Africa.

"We have also seen a high number of women working in the construction industry during the World Cup - as safety officers, project managers, or - in Cape Town - as a crane operator."

Interior of Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg
The World Cup kicks off on the pitch at Soccer City on 11 June, 2010

Dr Jordaan also says he hopes the World Cup will bring more skills knowledge to South Africa.

"If we want the economy to continue to grow then we need to acquire more skills," he says.

"One way is to develop programmes in universities to get more skills into our economy, and the other way is through skills transfers."

He says this could be achieved by partnerships between South African and European firms, with the World Cup giving local firms the chance to go down this path.

It seems the organising committee is pulling out all the stops to ensure a successfully-run World Cup, with lasting economic benefits to the country.

Now he says the onus is on the South African football team to play its part.

"It is important South Africa has a good World Cup to sustain the interest in the tournament of our population."



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