Soccer-World Cup stadiums will not be white elephants - Jordaan

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - South Africa does not plan to demolish any of its World Cup stadiums nor will any of them turn into neglected ‘white elephants’, Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the 2010 tournament, said on Wednesday.

Jordaan, speaking at the ‘Leaders In Football’ business conference at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground, said that of the 10 stadiums which staged matches during the World Cup, eight were expected to flourish by being used for soccer and rugby.

“For South Africa some of these stadiums will be a challenge,” he admitted.

But Jordaan added: “The fact we have football and rugby union in the same stadiums -- for example the All Blacks played the Springboks at Soccer City and 92,000 people were present -- proves that for about 80 percent of the stadiums it will be fine.

“One or two stadiums may struggle to be sustainable.”

Jordaan said the two stadiums in question were the Peter Mokaba Stadium at Polokwane and the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit which hosted group stage matches.

He later told Reuters: “They will not become white elephants, but they do face challenges.

“However, those challenges can be met. Contrary to some reports there are no plans to demolish any of them.”

Reflecting on the build-up to the World Cup finals, he said the lowest point came after the gun attack on the Togo team at the African Cup of Nations in Angola in January.

He also praised Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for keeping his faith in the Angola tournament and not recalling his players after the attack, which left two people dead and eight injured.

“The last big challenge we faced came at the African Cup of Nations and the incident around the Togo team.

“I saw that as the last onslaught, if I may use that word, because that was quite a threat to the World Cup because there was a thought that the managers of the English clubs would withdraw their players.

“Many of the top players came from European clubs and if they withdrew their players we might not have a World Cup, so it was quite a serious threat.

“Therefore I was happy when Arsene Wenger was the first manager to step up publicly and say the incident in Togo had nothing to do with South Africa and he had no problems in his players taking part.

“You have difficult moments, but that was the last of the lowest points.”

He said the final revenue and profit figures from the World Cup had not yet been calculated but the finals had already had a huge impact on South African tourism and the economy.

He said growth rebounded from minus 1.9 percent in 2009 to plus 2.5 percent immediately after the World Cup -- with a half percent of that rise “directly attributable to the World Cup”.

Jordaan has recently been on the FIFA inspection team analysing the bids of the nine candidates for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

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