Despite the current global economic turmoil, South Africa’s preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup are in their final stages and will not be affected greatly says Local Organising Committee CEO Dr Danny Jordaan.

Speaking at the opening of Soccerex, on Monday, the biggest inter-business football exhibition in the world, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) explained that due to the amount of work already done for the world cup that only slight price escalation remains a worry.

“If the world economy had crashed in 2004 [when South Africa was raising the budget for much of its world cup preparations] it would have been a very different picture than four years later in 2008.

“…most of the work has already been done,” said the CEO.

There is an expected price escalation of 10 percent in capital costs that will be a factor for the South African government and the LOC to deal with due to the problems on international markets, Mr Jordaan said.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told media and delegates that he was happy with where South Africa was regarding preparation for 2010, adding that most of the work has already been done.

“There is a problem of price escalation, this is clear, but we as FIFA are working closely with the LOC to try to keep the costs down.”

What still remained of concern to FIFA ahead of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the world cup, the secretary general said, was the issue of transport infrastructure, accommodation, overlay and security.

Dr Jordaan said the same issues also remained a top priority for the LOC, adding; however that work was on-going in all the mentioned areas.

South Africa is in the process of strengthening and defining the security plans for the two tournaments, adding that the impetus of 41 000 extra police officers by 2010 was a welcome impetus to allay fears of safety and security in the country.

By 2010, there will be 31 000 extra operational police officers and 10 000 extra police reservists, the CEO said.

With regard to the expected effect the significant slowdown in the global economy will have on the number of people travelling to South Africa for the tournaments, the CEO explained that those with pounds, dollars and euros in their pockets would still have more Rands when coming to South Africa.

South Africa would in effect become a cheaper destination for those travelling to the country.

“We expect about 450 000 visitors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup …which is not close to the number of people who travelled to Germany for the 2006 world cup,” the CEO said.

The LOC hopes that the world cup will be a unifying factor for South Africa that creates social cohesion, with the Confederations Cup as the first step to building support for the national team ahead of the world cup. – BuaNews