Irvin Khoza (l) and Danny Jordaan (r) in lighter mood on Wednesday
South Africa's projected bill for hosting the 2010 World Cup has ballooned to over four times the original cost.
Figures released by the organising committee on Wednesday put the total cost at US$1.59 billion, far in excess of the original estimate of US$295m.
The cost of building the stadiums has been put at US$1.1b, while transport and broadcasting infrastructure will cost $486m and $52.5m respectively.
Despite the huge increase, the committee denies underestimating the costs, saying plans have changed because new football stadiums are being built rather than renovating existing rugby grounds as previously planned.
"There has been no increase in the costs of stadiums (but) we (will) have built five new stadiums specifically for football," said Danny Jordaan, the Local Organising Committee's chief executive.
Comparatively, we are ahead of where Germany was at this stage. We are on track
Construction work on new stadiums in Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Polokwane and Port Elizabeth begins in January 2007 and is projected to finish within 34 months.
There has been widespread criticism of increasing World Cup costs, along with questions over what will happen to the new stadiums when the tournament ends.
In Cape Town and Durban, 70,000-seater stadiums are planned yet
South Africa's league struggles to fill small venues, sparking fears the new stadiums could become expensive white elephants.
Jordaan dismissed reports that organisers were behind schedule, insisting they had made more progress than previous hosts Germany at a similar stage.
"This is a clear misconception," Jordaan told a news conference in Johannesburg.
"Comparatively, we are ahead of where Germany was at this
stage. We are on track, well ahead of plans based on a timeframe set by us and Fifa.
"We are comfortable when we say we are on schedule."