FIFA play down accommodation concerns

CAPE TOWN - Accommodation at next year's World Cup finals was no longer an issue with enough rooms now available for visiting supporters, FIFA said on Wednesday.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said a target of 55,000 so-called 'bed nights' for an estimated 500,000 visitors at the month-long tournament starting next June had been reached.

"Accommodation is now a non-issue," he told a news conference ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.

South Africa has yet to convince everyone it has enough rooms or sufficient transport for fans at the finals.

However, Valcke said: "We have got the bed nights we feel we need to accommodate the people, based on the estimated numbers that we are expecting.

"We are sure now to accommodate all the potential requests we will receive whatever the demand," he added.

Valcke said extra aircraft would be chartered by MATCH Services, the travel agent appointed by football's world governing body, to help transport supporters around South Africa.

"We are renting planes, big aircraft like Airbus 340s and Boeing 747s," he said.

The vast distances in South Africa and lack of rail infrastructure mean air transport will be vital during the tournament, which runs from June 11 to July 11.


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