First World Cup stadium ready for action

JOHANNESBURG - Pretoria stadium Loftus Versfeld will become the first of 10 venues for the 2010 World Cup to open for action when it hosts a South African Premier Soccer League match on Saturday.

The stadium's renovation has been completed, including the installation of a new roof on one of its four stands, ahead of the World Cup finals next year, South African organising committee officials said on Wednesday.

Its capacity has been increased from 45,000 to 50,000.

The venue, first built in 1906, is also one of four stadiums to be used for the Confederations Cup, the eight-team warm-up event to be hosted in South Africa from June 14-28.

Renovations at the other three venues -- Ellis Park in Johannesburg and stadiums in Bloemfontein and Rustenburg -- were supposed to be completed last year but are still weeks away from being operational, officials said.

Loftus Versfeld will host Saturday's match between Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows. It is also the home ground of rugby's Blue Bulls and is the venue for a test between the touring British Lions and South Africa's Springboks on June 27.

The six other 2010 World Cup stadiums are due to be completed by the end of this year.


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