The choice of Green Point stadium as the official FIFA World Soccer Cup stadium for Cape Town has kicked off a major controversy.
Whilst the choice should spell good news for the Atlantic Seaboard hospitality industry, the V & A Waterfront, and even the city centre businesses, many community groups are expressing their anger over the choice of venue, mainly because the proposed stadium development can threaten the long-existing Metropolitan Golf Club across the road from the stadium. Two options are being mooted for the development: the current stadium should be demolished and a new one built on the same site, or a new one will be built, partially on the golf course site, the lease of which terminates in 2009. The golf course is over a hundred years old. The latter option will give spectators a spectacular view onto Table Mountain.
It would appear that Athlone Stadium will be used for some first round matches, practice sessions and friendlies, and renovations to this stadium are continuing, at a price tag of R 165 million, according to the Cape Argus, to expand its capacity to 30 000 seats, while Newlands stadium could be used for quarter finals if it were upgraded.
The soccer stadium issue has reached the mayoral office as well. Newly elected Mayor Helen Zille placed a moratorium on any decision-making regarding the re-development of the stadium, as more than R 1 billion would be required to build the stadium, in excess of Cape Town's capital expenditure budget for 2006. Her decision was based on the spending priority of providing services to the poorer communities of Cape Town and she feels that the city cannot afford such an expenditure. She has been criticised by the Premier of the province as being uninformed and overhasty. Controversial trade union federation COSATU has surprisingly backed the Mayor's decision, on the rather questionable basis that "The poor can't continue subsiding the rich in Cape Town", reports the Cape Times. The trade union federation wants the stadium to be in the Cape Flats or township area, and has threatened strike action if its demands are not met. 'The Regional Director of the Department of Water Affairs has also welcomed the moratorium, and has called for an analysis of the area's capacity to deal with water and sewerage requirements.
The Green Point stadium, to be renamed the African Renaissance Stadium, has to be completed by 2008, according to the FIFA deadline. It is to cost R 1,2 billion to build the 68 000 seater stadium, and a further R 80 million to add a retractable roof. The winning bids for the contractors for the project are due to be announced this week.
The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for the use of a blueprint design of an already existing soccer stadium elsewhere in the world, according to the Cape Argus. The Chamber is also calling for a completion of the "unfinished" highway close to the Waterfront, to alleviate the anticipated traffic congestion.
More than 300 000 international visitors are expected to visit South Africa for the Soccer World Cup. Of these, 50 000 are expected to be based in Cape Town and the winelands areas for close to a month. In additional, a further 100 000 visitors from Africa are expected, reports the Cape Argus.
Soccer star Gary Bailey has urged South African businesses to capitalise on the vast opportunity the World Cup can hold for them, estimated to contribute R 21,3 billion to the country's GDP, reports the Cape Argus.
Local residents and businesses have been surprised at some of the FIFA demands made on South African cities in which matches will be played. According to the Cape Argus, these include having sufficient back-up power to prevent power failures; no building construction may occur in a city/town at the time of the World Cup; no advertising billboards within a 1 km radius of a World Cup soccer stadium or on major routes may feature advertising of any brand other than FIFA aligned brands up to six months prior to the start of the soccer showcase; free office space and communication services for FIFA officials must be made available; special traffic lanes for FIFA delegates and participating teams have to be assigned; and Budweiser, being one of the official sponsor brands, is the only beer to be served.
Coca Cola has signed a 16-year sponsorship agreement with FIFA, according to the Cape Argus, and in 2010 its sponsorship will include making discounted tickets available to disadvantaged communities.
The police dog unit is set to be doubled in preparation for 2010, and it has already put out calls to the public for suitable dogs to be made available for training.
Teral Cullen is a young thirty-something who has been appointed as director of the event in Cape Town. She has five years' experience as director of marketing for the S A Football Association. Cullen and Cape Town Routes Unlimited are to form part of a team that will unveil South Africa's logo for the 2010 World Cup event in Germany, when the 2006 event kicks off in two months' time.
The World Cup tournament will also impact on the Garden Route, with the national roads agency announcing that the N2 bypass around Knysna will be completed in time for the 2010 event. The municipality and residents of Knysna have long resisted the bypass, but traffic congestion has made this a necessity. Extensive upgrades to the N2 on the Garden Route have been in place for the last few months, and will help facilitate a better traffic flow once completed.
The South African Bafana Bafana soccer team is in dire straits, and has not qualified to participate in Germany later this year, and has lost a coach almost every year in the past 13 years, says Business Report. The team is currently ranked 48th, above Ghana, Togo and Angola, all of which have qualified for World Cup 2006.
At a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Tourism Grading Council, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, stated that the country currently is up to 200 000 beds short for the 2010 event, reports the Cape Times.