- Thomas Fuller-->
The first whistle of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa will be blown on 11 June 2010 and the final game will take place on 11 July 2010.
In 2010 South Africa will host the Fifa Football World Cup, the first time the world's premier sporting event will be held on African soil. South Africa regularly hosts major international sporting events, and since 1994 has successfully managed some of the biggest - including the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the Women's World Cup of Golf in 2005 and 2006 and, in January 2006, the only street race in the inaugural A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport. But the Football World Cup, the world's biggest sporting event after the Olympic games - in terms of television audience, bigger than the Olympics - is in a class of its own.
For four weeks in 2010, South Africa will be the centre of the world. The Germany 2006 World Cup was the most extensively covered and viewed event in television history. South Africa 2010, promise to draw even bigger audiences. The eyes of billions of television viewers, an estimated three million international visitors and the cream of the world's sporting media will be focused on the southern tip of Africa.
Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, Western Cape, is to be specially built for 2010, with a retractable roof and a capacity of 68 000. It will host six first-round matches, one second-round, one quarter-final and one semifinal match.
The new stadium is to be built on a 10.6 hectare site in the suburb of Green Point, within walking distance of the city's popular Victoria and Alfred Waterfront at a cost of R2.5bn. Regulations to limit noise and light pollution and to minimize the visual impact of the facility that will have a seating capacity of 68 000 are to be adhered to. The Green Point stadium that presently occupies a part of the site and has hosted various entertainment events, including one of Nelson Mandela's star-studded Aids benefit concerts, has been demolished to make way for the stadium.
The Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, is to be specially built for 2010, with a capacity of 50 000. It will host five first-round matches, one second-round, one quarter-final, and the third-place playoff.
The Port Elizabeth stadium has been earmarked for a site north of the city, near the industrial port development at Coega, offering a new headquarters for sport in the Eastern Cape. The structure is envisaged as a futuristic soccer stadium, which will be incorporated within a multi-purpose facility specifically designed to serve the community for years to come. Safa is determined that new Stadiums should be built both to meet the requirements of hosting a Fifa World Cup and thereafter to serve local people in a practical, relevant manner. Its location in open land outside the city, two kilometres from the coast, will ensure provision of ample parking and the capacity to apply every required safety and security measure. In its design and construction, the stadium will be created to meet every Fifa requirement and provide an outstanding venue for first and second round matches during the tournament.
The King Senzangakhona Stadium in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, is to be specially built for 2010, with a capacity of 70 000. It will host six first-round matches, one second-round, and one semifinal match.
King's Park stands less then a kilometre from the Indian Ocean and is recognized as the prime sporting venue in the holiday city of Durban. Set in expansive grounds ten minutes' drive from the primary hotel hub, the Stadium has been regularly renovated and improved in recent years and now stands as a mighty, towering structure. Originally built as a rugby Stadium and used as a semi-final venue in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, King's Park has now become a dual-code venue, and indeed staged Bafana Bafana's first ever match, a famous 1-0 victory over Cameroon in July 1992. For 2010, new roofed upper tiers will be constructed at the north and south ends of the ground, behind each of the goals, to create a fully encircled oval with a new net capacity of 60 000 seats. King's Park will be nominated as a semi-final venue, ready to host memorable Fifa World Cup matches on warm evenings, cooled by the balmy breeze wafting in from the Indian Ocean. Named after a founding father of the Zulu nation, King Senzangakona (ca. 1762 - 1816 ), the 100m high arches will mark the centre of Durban's growing Sports City Complex.
The Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein will have a third tier added, increasing its capacity to 40 000. It will host five first-round matches and one second-round. The Free State Stadium was substantially upgraded in advance of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and the structure now stands as a fully functioning venue for international sports events. Situated within the city's sports precinct, the Stadium is only a few minutes' drive from proposed Fifa and team hotels.
This dedicated sporting environment, which includes in close proximity independent stadiums for cricket, hockey, athletics and swimming, as well as several secondary fields, has been repeatedly proven ideal for the application of safety and security, the provision of ample parking and the presentation of excellent corporate hospitality. In advance of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, a second tier will be added to the main grandstand on the western side of the ground, increasing the net capacity beyond the 40 000-mark required for venues to stage first and second round matches. Additionally, new turnstiles will be erected, the floodlights will be upgraded, electronic scoreboards will be installed and the sound system will be revamped to the required standards. By then, the Free State Stadium will be ready to welcome both participating teams and visiting supporters to a world class venue.
Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Gauteng, is to undergo minor upgrades for 2010, and has a capacity of 60 000. It will host five first-round matches, one second-round and one quarter-final.
Ellis Park was constructed in 1982 as a modern, integrated stadium offering outstanding sight lines from every seat. The Stadium stands within a world-class sporting precinct, barely 15 minutes' walk from the Johannesburg City Centre, and offers outstanding office, security and medical features. Ellis Park was conceived as a rugby stadium, and is fondly known to all South Africans as the venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final when South Africa defeated New Zealand, but it has also become recognized as a premier venue for soccer. Manchester United and Arsenal are two major clubs to have graced the turf, and the Stadium has hosted South Africa's national team on many celebrated occasions. For 2010, new upper tiers will be constructed behind each of the goals, at the north and south ends of the venue, increasing the net capacity by 10 149 seats to a total 60 000. Ellis Park will then meet every requirement to be accepted as a venue for one of the semi-final matches.
The Soccer City stadium near Soweto in Johannesburg is to undergo a major upgrade for the 2010 tournament, with a new design inspired by traditional African pottery and a revamped capacity for 104 000 football fans. The stadium will hold the final and opening matches, five first-round matches, one second-round match and one quarter-final.
As venue for the opening match and the 2010 Fifa World Cup final, Soccer City will be the focal point of the tournament. The Stadium, a classic, two-tiered bowl set on a spacious site south-west of the Johannesburg city centre, will stand as the cherished symbol of South African football's boom in recent years. It was constructed in 1987, becoming the country's first world-class stadium solely dedicated to soccer. Soccer City accommodates the Safa offices and hosts most of the country's major soccer occasions: prime internationals featuring Bafana Bafana, impassioned derby matches between the giants, Chiefs and Pirates, and most Cup finals. For 2010, the upper tier will be extended around the stadium, an encircling roof will be constructed, a new changing room complex will be developed, and new floodlights will be installed. It can seat 94 700.
The Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, North West Province, is to undergo a minor upgrade, increasing its capacity to 45 000. It will host four first-round matches and one second-round.
Only minor renovations will be required to bring the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace into line with requirements for a stadium able to host first and second round matches at a Fifa World Cup. This reality underlines the excellence of the venue, opened in 1999 and completely funded by the Royal Bafokeng community, an administrative entity that functions within North West province and presides over the world's richest platinum mines. The stadium is located on open land, offering easy access and extensive parking facilities for local supporters and those who make the comfortable 90-minute drive from Johannesburg. As a multi-purpose venue used by the community, the venue includes an athletics track, but the oval bowl structure maintains a degree of intimacy and engenders an excellent atmosphere. For 2010, essentially cosmetic measures such as installation of new electronic scoreboards and upgrading of the floodlights and public address system will render the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace ready to welcome the soccer supporters of the world.
Loftus Versveld stadium in Pretoria , Gauteng Province, is to undergo minor upgrades for 2010, and has a capacity of 45 000. It will host four first-round matches and one second-round.
Named in memory of a leading sports administrator, Mr Loftus Versfeld, after he suffered a heart attack in the east stand in 1938, "Loftus" stands as one of the capital city's most familiar landmarks. The Stadium is situated scarcely 2km from the city centre, in the heart of an attractive, tree-lined residential area that accommodates row upon row of foreign embassies. Through the apartheid years, reflecting the prejudice of local residents, the city council resolutely refused permission for soccer to be played in what was then preserved as a bastion of rugby. However, times have changed and Sundowns, one of South Africa's leading professional clubs, now calls Loftus home. Minimal upgrading will be required for the Stadium to qualify as a venue for first and second round matches, but the floodlights, sound system and scoreboards will all be improved.
The Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, is to be specially built, with a capacity of 30 000. It will host four first-round matches. Construction of the new Mbombela Stadium on open land just 8km north of Nelspruit will confirm the recently rising fortunes of this far north-eastern corner of South Africa. Local communities have been denied such a facility for far too long and this stadium will correct the anomaly.
The Mbombela Stadium has been designed to ensure it enjoys a prosperous life beyond the tournament as an adaptable, relevant multi-sport, entertainment and exhibition venue. An elevated site has been chosen for the rounded, rectangular shaped structure, incorporating ideal sight lines from every seat and a substantial administrative area on the western side. The stadium will be specifically constructed to ensure that it meets all Fifa requirements and presents a compact and attractive venue for both first and second round matches. Visiting teams and supporters may well be impressed by their safari drives in the nearby Kruger Park but, for explosive noise and thrilling atmosphere, even the Big Five would be stretched to outdo the Fifa World Cup spectacle at Mbombela Stadium.
The Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane functions as a soccer stadium and a venue for international athletics. Comprising grassed banks on three sides of a main stand, it serves its purpose well.
However, this prime sporting venue in Polokwane, capital of the Limpopo province, is now earmarked for a major upgrading to convert it into a world class Stadium. It is intended that the earth embankments will be sufficiently built up to accommodate a further 20 rows of seating, concreted and fitted with rows of Fifa-approved bucket seating. The roof over the existing west stand will be removed and replaced by a roof that covers the entire western stand of the new Stadium. This imaginative design has been motivated by Safa's desire to create world class facilities in historically deprived areas and to build Stadiums in an economically viable manner that offers enduring benefit to the community for many decades to come. In addition to the structural work, the Peter Mokaba stadium will be provided with first-rate equipment, including an electronic scoreboard in the northern stand, new floodlights, a modern sound system and a fire detection and protection system. The nature of this substantial renovation on open land enables officials to ensure that Fifa's requirements are met without difficulty.
The ticketing system will be controlled by FIFA and there will approximately 3,000,000 tickets available for the 64 matches that will take place in South Africa during 2010.
Of those 3,000,000 tickets a third will go to sponsors, the teams and the FIFA family. Another third will go to international visitors and the last million tickets will go to South African residents or possibly residents of Africa.
Ticket sales will likely take place in 2009 and you will be given lots of notice. The website will also probably go up several months before ticket sales begin so you will be able to gather all the information you need and it will answer every possible question you may have.
2007 - World Cup 2010 ticketing policies defined and ticket allocation model developed
2008 - World Cup 2010 ticket packages set up, ticket requirements defined and preferential ticket sales started
2009 - Public ticket sales open
2010 - Ticket distribution