PE retained as Confed Cup venue

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Port Elizabeth, Ellis Park (Johannesburg), Royal Bafokeng Stadium (Rustenburg), Loftus Versfeld (Tshwane) and Vodacom Park (Bloemfontein) have been ear-marked as the five venues for the 2010 World Cup dry-run.

There had been fears that the coastal venue might have to be axed as the stadium had run into delays and may have not be completed in time for the June 14-28 tournament, but these have been put aside for now.

The Board and Fifa Secretary General Jérôme Valcke stressed, however, that the end of March 2009 is the final deadline which can be provided to Port Elizabeth, as the only newly-built Confederations Cup stadium, to be fully operational.

“At this stage all five stadiums are still in,” Valcke says. “We are placing tight monitoring on all of them and if by any chance if any of them fails to comply with the agreed deadlines, they will be removed (from the Fifa Confederations Cup schedule).

“Port Elizabeth is a new stadium and that’s why we have been patient with them. Recently they have accelerated the process, which gives us comfort.

“We have submitted a letter on 24 January, 2008, to the Local Organising Committee outlining the crucial deadlines for completion of the stadium. The answers received over the last few days as well as a site visit made us believe that PE will be able to be ready by 30 March 2009.

“On this basis we have decided to stick to the schedule with five venues but all dates indicated on our letter will be closely monitored and any deviation from the dates will have consequences.

“It is vital that all stadiums will be meeting the indicated Fifa requirements and deadlines and this will be monitored and handled accordingly.”

So far South Africa (hosts), Egypt (CAF champions), Italy (world champions), Brazil (South America champions), USA (Concacaf champions) and Iraq (Asia champions) have qualified.

The winners of the European and Oceania regions still have to be decided.