/ 9 September 2009

Fifa frets over Safa elections

Fifa has vowed to monitor the upcoming SA Football Association (Safa) elections to ensure they do not affect preparations for the Soccer World Cup.

”We said we’d like to see it [the elections] postponed until after 2010, but Safa refused, so we’ll be monitoring them very carefully to make sure that they do not impact on the World Cup,” Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke told a press briefing in Johannesburg.

Both 2010 local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan and chairperson Irvin Khoza are contesting the Safa presidency. This raised concerns earlier this year that should one man be elected over the other, the organising of the World Cup would be hindered due to alleged divisions within Safa. Safa has dismissed these claims as malicious and misleading.

”When we see competition is very tough between two people we work with … we have to protect the organisation of the World Cup,” Falcke said.

Falcke and Jordaan were briefing the media on progress made on preparations for the tournament.

Jordaan said things were running smoothly and that most stadiums were nearing completion.

”Progress on construction of the six new Fifa World Cup stadiums is good. With all stadiums now between 80 and 92% complete, all that remains before the stadiums are handed over to the organising committee are the final touches to the stadium bowls and work on the precinct areas surrounding the stadiums.”

Jordaan said the LOC would also address spiralling costs for construction projects, following reports that cities like Johannesburg had to slash their budgets for the current financial year to keep up with the soaring costs of the stadiums.

”It is unfortunate with the global economic crisis … but the impact is going to be very small. It is a matter we’ll have to address,” he said.

Jordaan said there had been an overwhelming response to the 15 000 volunteer spots available, with 67 999 people from 170 countries applying. – Sapa