As the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ draws nearer, so the cogs of the organisation machine are beginning to spin faster. This was evident today during the Host City Forum (HCF) which took place in Parktown, Johannesburg.

The HCF consists of host city representatives whose cities will be hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ (FWC) and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009â„¢ (FCC), as well as the Organising Committee (OC), FIFA and all spheres of Government.

The purpose of the HCF, which is chaired by the Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Sicelo Shiceka, is to ensure that all cities and stakeholders are kept on the same page in terms of matters involving the host cities. Topics covered included legal issues such as construction bylaws, transport, insurance and protocol, as well as the use of the tournament’s popular Official Mascot Zakumi to market the event in the host cities.

“The 2010 FIFA World Cup is the biggest event we’ve had in this country and we take our responsibilities very seriously and deploy the best people in our country to deliver it. This (the Host City Forum) is where it all happens. These are the people who ensure the infrastructure is there and that our visitors in 2010 will be hosted well. It’s where we exchange information, ideas and also where we look at our readiness,” said Mr Shiceka.

In terms of progress, Mr Shiceka was confident that the host cities will produce an excellent tournament. “There is clearly a high level of commitment from the host cities and we think that the country as a whole is on schedule to ensure everything is delivered on time”

While engagements at the forum are always frank and cordial, as the event draws nearer it’s all business, as host cities ready themselves in earnest for the FCC and the FWC. One of the major decisions made during today’s meeting was the pairing of cities hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 in June next year with those 2010 FIFA World Cup host cities not staging the FIFA Confederations Cup.

This pairing, or ‘marriage’ as the members called it, will involve knowledge transfer between the paired cities, who will also benefit from the experience of working on a major FIFA event a year ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

“We have agreed that the cities will twin, so that there is information sharing and so that people can benefit from their experiences. We see the FIFA Confederations Cup as an important dry run for 2010,” said Mr Shiceka.

DATED: 13th November 2008