NEW YORK: The 2010 World Cup organising committee chief thinks a successful tournament could lead to the Olympics being hosted in Africa for the first time in 2020.
“The IOC decided to give South America their first Olympics, so the only continent now without an Olympics is the African continent, and therefore I think it’s something that the IOC certainly will have to begin to think about,” South Africa 2010 organising committee chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said on Wednesday.
Speaking after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Jordaan said he could envision South African cities Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban bidding along with Egypt for the 2020 Games. The IOC’s 2011 session will be held in Durban, and Jordaan believes those meetings could serve as a springboard.
The IOC voted October 2 to hold the Olympics in South America for the first time, awarding the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over bids from Tokyo, Chicago and Madrid. Brazil will be hosting the Olympics two years after staging the 2014 football World Cup.
Since the end of apartheid and the first elections with universal suffrage in 1994, South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1995, football’s African Cup of Nations in 1996 and the Cricket World Cup in 2003. Next year’s World Cup is football’s first in Africa. FIFA is projecting record revenue for the 2010 World Cup, with Jordaan saying commercial partners will generate $3.2 billion.
“The argument was that any World Cup on the African continent will lead to huge financial losses. Therefore, Africa must wait,” Jordaan told a reception at South Africa’s UN consulate. “This event, because of television, is actually without boundaries and without borders. And so you can return the value of the investment in New York and Miami and London and Paris, and all over the world. If we dismiss the (financial loss) argument for the World Cup, we’ve dismissed it also for the Olympics.”
While World Cup stadiums are on schedule, infrastructure concerns remain. The high-speed train linking Johannesburg with Pretoria won’t be completed in time, with only the section between Sandton and Oliver Tambo Airport outside Johannesburg ready for the tournament. However, a new airport is scheduled to open in Durban by June and upgrades are being made to Oliver Tambo and Cape Town International Airport.
He said 1,000 additional buses and 200 more planes will be added to the transportation system. Jordaan admitted there are not hotel rooms in some of the cities to accommodate spectators, mentioning Nelspruit and Polokwane. Because of that, fans will have to travel in and out for some matches.
He said places to stay have been set aside in neighboring countries within driving distance, including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. South Africa expects 450,000 visitors for the tournament, which will be held in nine cities from June 11 to July 11.