JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Preparations for Africa's first World Cup next year are progressing well, with all stadiums close to completion.
A team of officials from soccer's governing body undertook a six-day inspection of stadiums and other facilities across South Africa. The inspections ended Wednesday.
"The vast majority are either completed or very near completion," said Derek Blanckensee, who led the delegation. "I am very happy with progress seen. There were some small issues but nothing that raised alarm bells."
Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the local organizing committee, said construction of most of the stadiums would be completed by the group draw on Dec. 4. Cape Town's stadium will be completed shortly afterward.
"It is very clear to me that as we go to the draw, we go there with confidence that everything is in place for a wonderful World Cup."
Six new stadiums are being built while three others have been upgraded.
In the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban, stadiums are set against breathtaking views. At the stadium in Nelspruit, near a number of large wildlife reserves, the black and white seating resembles a zebra and the red struts of the stadium giraffes.
Blanckensee said the inspection team examined logistical aspects to the stadiums. These include team arrivals, access to ambulances and marketing and hospitality arrangements.
Ron DelMont, FIFA's head of its South African office, said training venues had been inspected as qualifying teams begin to make their choices.
"We are very happy with the training facilities. We are comfortable with the locations and will continue to do inspections," DelMont said.
Temporary structures such as media centers will be added closer to the start of the tournament on June 11.
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