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Downturn threat to SA World Cup

Drive from Johannesburg's main international airport into the city during rush hour, and the silver lining to the slow-moving traffic is that you get to study the hoardings advertising the forthcoming Gautrain.

The 80 kilometre railway system is a much-needed transport link, which, it is hoped, should be built in time to whisk World Cup 2010 visitors who have just touched down into town.

And, although it may be a tight squeeze to be ready in 18 months for the tournament kick-off - "blasting work here" signs still feature on the roadside - at least the 2010 organising committee has the power to influence the government on this.

It is a similar issue with stadiums, with well-publicised problems at Cape Town, and at some other venues which are facing looming deadlines and rising budgets.

But, again, the issues are tangible, and world football body Fifa and the South African organisers are in agreement they will work together to do whatever physically needs to be done.

Global slowdown

Of more concern, and less visible, is the potential effect of the global economic downturn, which has left South Africa facing a possible recession.

The rand has been sliding and South Africa's benchmark stock index has been close to its lowest level in almost three years.

  We will just have to wait and see

Danny Jordaan, chief executive, 2010 World Cup organising committee

All this comes just as the country is launching a publicity drive for its hosting of the 2009 Confederations Cup, a preamble to the World Cup.

"Will it [the global downturn] have an impact on the Confederations Cup? No," says Dr Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the 2010 World Cup organising committee.

"We are using existing stadiums, we are talking about meeting specific event requirements."

 South Africa's railway system is overcrowded The Confederations Cup is a eight-country tournament, held in the year before a World Cup in the host nation, to enable it to have a 'dry-run' for the big event as much as possible.

But in one regard it is different. In terms of audience the 2009 event is not expected to draw many overseas visitors to Africa

Source of this news is from bbc website  www.bbc.co.uk

Posted on Friday 21st November 2008

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