PE dropped from 2009 Confeds Cup

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The shock announcement comes as a major public relations blow to South Africa, just two weeks after FIFA president Sepp Blatter said there was a Plan B for the 2010 event.

The 2010 board pulled the plug on the Eastern Cape venue after a report said the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was only likely to be finished just four weeks before next June’s event.

“The timing was completely crazy,” said Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke.

“We need a lot longer than just four weeks. It is impossible to deal with a stadium so late. There are many things we need to do before in the stadium.”

Port Elizabeth had already been granted a special dispensation to finish construction by March next year, while the other four stadiums for the eight-team tournament have to be finished by the end of the year. They are Loftus Versfeld, the Free State Stadium, the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace and Ellis Park.

Local Organising Committee chairman Irvin Khoza said the importation of a roof of the venue was holding up the construction.

“For that reason it was decided it was important to allow them to prepare for the 2010 World Cup finals,” Khoza said,

He added that there was concern over the pace of construction at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, which is also one of the venues for the Confederation Cup.

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