South Africa is expected to be given a qualified vote of confidence when FIFA president Sepp Batter pronounces on the country’s readiness to host next year’s World Cup.

But questions over security and transport will come under intense focus in the next 11 months.
Blatter will address a media conference in Johannesburg on Monday (0900 GMT) to give his verdict on the eight-team Confederations Cup, a warm-up event one year before 32 teams compete in the World Cup finals.

Brazil came from two goals down to win Sunday’s final 3-2 against the United States in an exciting finish to the event.

But the tournament was tarnished by the reported theft of money from hotel rooms of both the Brazilian and Egyptian teams and a general lack of security over access where untrained personnel allowed repeated breaching of stadium secure zones.

In the first week, organisers fired a security company responsible for access control at Ellis Park.

A park and ride system also proved disorganised early on in the tournament, leaving many spectators stranded trying to get to the game or return afterwards. Local organisers, however, moved quickly to lay on extra capacity.

The standard of the pitches also came under scrutiny. All four stadiums used had hosted rugby matches in either the Super 14 competition or the British Lions rugby tour just before the start of the Confederations Cup.

NOT ENOUGH
“Certainly with an eye towards the World Cup next year we have made note of the fact that a two-week period prior to the start of a match in the stadium is not enough time,” FIFA competitions director Jim Brown said.

The six other venues for the 2010 tournament are being purpose-built and should not face similar problems.

No match was sold out at the Confederations Cup with Blatter forced to urge organisers to give away free tickets to fill empty seats.

South Africans had complained at the expensive prices, the cheapest ticket costing three times more than for domestic matches.

Other potential problems for 2010 around accommodation capacity and cross-country transport were not tested as the Confederations Cup venues were in or near major centres.
Participating teams complimented the organisers and home supporters.

“We have had nothing but a warm reception wherever we’ve been and the organisation of our trip has been flawless,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said at a media conference.

World Cup 2010 organising committee chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said: “Our focus now is on delivering the best World Cup ever.”

PUBLICATION: www.guardian.co.uk
AUTHOR: Mark Gleeson
DATED: 28th June 2009