Most FIFA hotel rooms booked for World Cup

JOHANNESBURG:Nearly three-fourths of the hotel rooms marketed by FIFA for the World Cup in South Africa have been booked, organisers said Thursday.

MATCH, which provides accommodation services for FIFA, says 73 percent of their rooms have been reserved, with just over 100 days until the competition, said Irvin Khoza, chairman of the local organising committee.

"The report we received from MATCH is satisfying," Khoza told a news conference.

MATCH reached deals with hotels across South Africa to market 48,000 rooms during the World Cup, which runs June 11 to July 11.

Many bed and breakfasts and some large hotel chains like Hyatt decided not to work with MATCH, because they did not want to have to set aside big blocks of rooms months before the tournament.

South Africa, which has poured 33 billion rand (3.9 billion dollars, 3.2 billion euros) into the event, hopes to welcome 450,000 foreign visitors during the tournament.

FIFA has recently said that the actual number of arrivals would likely be lower, but did not provide an estimate.

"Whenever you play the tournament far away from Europe, it's a challenge for some fans to come -- a financial challenge, an organisational challenge," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Thursday.