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Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 19:32 UK

Fifa delighted with SA progress

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Johannesburg

Inside the Soccer City stadium Johannesburg
Soccer City in Johannesburg will host the 2010 World Cup final

Fifa is delighted with the progress at next year's World Cup venues after completing a six-day inspection tour.

A delegation from football's world governing body and the World Cup Organising Committee ended a tour of six South African venues on Wednesday.

"Overall, we are very impressed with the achievements made," said Ron DelMont, who heads up Fifa's South African office.

The inspectors visited the five stadiums newly-built for the World Cup.

They spent time looking at the venues in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Nelspruit, Polokwane and Durban, as well as the heavily-refurbished Soccer City in Johannesburg.

The remaining four World Cup venues - Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg and Johannesburg's Ellis Park - are already operational, having been used during June's Confederations Cup.

"We've been looking for years at artists' impressions of buildings as well as drawings indicating the location of dressing rooms for example, and to now see them in their final state is very satisfying," said Derek Blanckensee.

However, Blanckensee, the Chief Competitions Officer who led the delegation, admitted that the completion of both Soccer City and Cape Town's spectacular Green Point Stadium may run into 2010.

"All the stadiums should be complete by the end of this year although maybe Cape Town and Soccer City may go on a little big longer given that they are such big projects," he explained.

Now the work of the organising committee and Fifa begins in earnest as we take these stadiums and get them ready to host World Cup matches

Danny Jordaan

Although Soccer City - which will host both the opening match and final of the World Cup - existed before, it is effectively a new stadium as it has been totally rebuilt.

Although the tour was more about the operational aspects of the stadiums than completion, it was a very useful indicator as to their progress.

"We have to give credit to the host cities, who have moved these plans from concept to completion and that was a huge challenge," said Danny Jordaan, the organising committee's Chief Executive Officer.

"They have ensured that their wonderful new stadiums are built to the highest standards and are ready in time.

"The question has always been raised as to whether we will be ready. This tour has provided ample evidence that indeed we will be.

"Now the work of the organising committee and Fifa begins in earnest as we take these stadiums and get them ready to host World Cup matches."

Most of this work, which entails installing the overlay infrastructure required to stage the tournament (such as signage, media centres and hospitality areas), will take place in 2010.

South Africa's stadiums have long been one of the most impressive aspects of their World Cup hosting, but serious question marks still surround issues of transport, crime and accommodation.

The World Cup starts on 11 June, finishing exactly a month later on 11 July.

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see also
Angola on track to host CAN
29 Sep 09 |  African
Fifa warns of fake tickets
25 Sep 09 |  African
SA World Cup tickets go on sale
20 Feb 09 |  Africa
First new 2010 stadium opened
07 Jun 09 |  African
2010 World Cup
09 Sep 09 |  African

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