Editorial
2010 World Cup in Australia? Maybe.
10:19 PM Fri 21st Jul, 2006 - Sweeper
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Australia is being touted as the backup to South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup Finals.

It is common knowledge in football circles that South Africa is way behind schedule in its preparation for the 2010 World Cup finals - the first to be held in Africa. It is still to finalise some of the cities that will host the matches let alone commence the construction of new stadiums and refurbishment of old stadiums.

One of the major concerns is the public infrastructure. Germany was able to take advantage of its world's best transportation infrastructure - its famous unlimited speed autobahns, 250km/h trains and extensive air network. Over 2 million people turned up, double what was forecast, yet Germany coped without any problems.

South Africa needs to make significant investments in public infrastructure to move the large amounts of people in, out and around the country efficiently during the World Cup finals. Its task may be a little smaller than 2006 as it has forecast the 2010 World Cup finals will attract around 500,000 visitors, a quarter of the number of visitors for the 2006 event.

In terms of accomodation South Africa currently has 50,000 hotel beds. The hotel sector will need significent expansion and alternative solutions, such as tented villages, will have to be devised to accomodate the 500,000 visitors expected to turn up during the event.

Then there is the security concerns. Crime is rampant in South Africa and its getting worse. It has the second highest murder rate in the world behind Columbia. A person is 12 times more likely to be murdered in South Africa than anywhere else in the world bar Columbia. The figures only get worse when you look at women with South Africa topping the world in violence against women.

Security fears are heightened because organisers want to house visitors in large tented villages to offset scarcity of hotel accommodation and create fan fests - where supporters without match tickets can assemble en masse to watch the action live on large screens - on an even grander scale than those in Germany because ticket prices, although set to be held at 2006 levels, will be beyond the means of most ordinary South Africans.

Between now and 2010 the South African government has an almost impossible task ahead of it to bring the crime rate under control and convince football fans that South Africa is a safe place to visit.

Officially FIFA is continuing to throw its support behind South Africa. Sep Blatter has said that FIFA would not let South Africa fail. But unoffically contingency plans are being put in place to move the World Cup finals to Australia or even the USA.

Australia has won significant accolades for its performance during the 2006 World Cup Finals making it a credible host country on the field and off the field its has a proven and up-to-date track record of hosting the 2000 Olympic Games and 2003 Rugby World Cup.

No decision is likely to be made before the FIFA elections in 2007. Sepp Blatter will be going for his third term as FIFA President and he needs the votes from Africa to have any hope against the UEFA candidate tipped to be Franz Beckenbauer or Michelle Platini

"This would leave only three years to make South Africa work or three years to choose a new venue that is better prepared to go through with it." a top FIFA executive told the International Herald Tribune

The clock is ticking and South Africa has 12 months to get their act together and make credible progress. Meanwhile Australia will ramp up its bid for the 2018 World Cup Finals with an outside chance that it may get the tournament eight years earlier than planned.
Source: User Submission
At 12:25 PM Tue 3rd Oct, 2006, Fred Goldstone said
There's just enough time for the SA government to build a new stadium for football to enable us to host a round and a quarter final.
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