Decision on stadium looms

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Residents of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that Fifa will still use the new stadium for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

This comes after concerns from the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee's technical team report that the stadium in Port Elizabeth might not be ready.

The LOC board will hold a two-day meeting at Safa House in Nasrec today and tomorrow where a final decision on the venue will be taken.

Jerome Valcke, Fifa general secretary, was in Port Elizabeth at the weekend to satisfy himself with the progress ahead of the meeting.

At their last board meeting, Valcke made it clear that it was up to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to decide whether they want to be part of the event or not.

Valcke, who also inspected Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, said Fifa would revert to the usual use of four stadiums for the Confederations Cup if Port Elizabeth did not impress them.

The four venues are Ellis Park (Johannesburg), Royal Bafokeng (Rustenburg), Bloemfontein (Mangaung) and Loftus (Tshwane).

Sowetan has learnt that some of the board members are divided on the use of Port Elizabeth, arguing that playing the games there will just be an emotional decision.

The executive committee of the LOC had a meeting in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago but could not decide on the matter.

This was after a passionate plea from Nondumiso Mapazi, executive mayor and Noxolo Abrahams-Ntantiso, Eastern Cape MEC for sport and recreation.

"It's a 50-50 situation regarding the use of the new stadium in Port Elizabeth, but things do not look too good," said a source close to the technical committee.

The board can only make an emotional decision.