22 Nov 2008

South Africa reassures FIFA it will be right for World Cup

1:16 pm on 22 November 2008

This weekend's draw for FIFA's Confederations Cup has cast a spotlight on South Africa's preparations for the FIFA World Cup, as organisers look to reassure naysayers that everything's on track.

Worries about the Confederations Cup arose in July when the city of Port Elizabeth was stripped of the right to stage matches because the new stadium under construction there would be not finished on time.

But organisers maintain the 10 grounds for the World Cup, to be held in nine cities, will be completed by December next year.

Despite concerns about cost overruns - the stadium in Cape Town reportedly will cost 50 per cent more than budgeted - few doubt that the facilities will be ready for the World Cup, the first held in Africa.

In addition to South Africa's construction budget, FIFA has an operational budget of $65 million for the Confed Cup and almost $2 billion for the World Cup.

In a country where an average of about 50 people meet violent deaths every day, security officials have promised to tackle crime with a "firm and uncompromising" stance.

French police are helping train South African forces in non-lethal tactics against unruly crowds.