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Jordaan upbeat over budget

2010-04-09 07:59
Johannesburg - Organisers of this year's Soccer World Cup are confident that the tournament will be delivered within budget.

This was the verdict from the Local Organising Committee (LOC), despite questions still being raised over the number of unsold tickets and reports that there may be up 100 000 less fans coming into the country during the June 11 to July 11 event.

But the LOC remains upbeat, revealing that it had approved funding of $423m from FIFA to deliver the tournament - 32% of which was spent by the end of the 2008/2009 financial year.

Danny Jordaan, the LOC chief executive officer, said: "Organising committees of all major events around the world have to contend with budgetary demands and pressures and this committee is no different.

"I am happy to report that the LOC has maintained financial prudence and discipline throughout and I am confident that this will continue as we enter the final phase of delivering the tournament.

"We have utilised approximately 32% of the approved budget. This means that 68% of the funds have been retained for the final year to deliver the most important phase of the World Cup."

But Jordaan was uncertain as to whether the expected 450 000 visitors will arrive in the country during the tournament, saying he would only have a clearer idea once he met with officials from South Africa's tourism department.

He continued: "There is a global economic impact and when we initially did economic impact assessment in 2003, the result at that time done by Grant Thornton Kessel Feinstein was that we should expect about 450 000 visitors in 2010.

"The reality is that in 2008 and early 2009, the was a global economic impact and we saw that not just around major events, but also impact on international travel.

"Not withstanding that, the country is still attracting 11 million visitors a year, which means almost one million per month into South Africa.

"Therefore we are looking at that issue, what is the final figure that we expect. After discussing with the Minister of Tourism (Marthinus Van Schalkwyk) and looking at the figures we will be able to come back with the exact figures from our side.

"We are now talking about 350 000, but the researched position by Grant Thornton Kessel Feinstein was 450 000."

Despite reports of ticket sales not going according to plan, Irvin Khoza, the OC chairperson, said they were better off than Germany was at the same stage four years ago.

He added: "At this point in time, we are more than comfortable in terms of the sales. There are plus-minus 500 000 tickets remaining.

"Those 500 000 tickets, we are confident they will be sold when the over-the-counter sales phase starts."

"We are working to achieve a level that has never been achieved previously because it is not easy. Even in Germany, all the tickets were not sold out."

More details on ticketing are expected to be revealed on Friday. 

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