Soccer City stadium to open in April or May

SUN CITY, South Africa - South Africa's showpiece venue for the World Cup will be ready for its first test events in April or May but the pitch at another of the new stadiums is being relaid again, local organisers said on Tuesday.

The 95,000-capacity Soccer City near Soweto, where both the opening match and the final of the World Cup will be played, will host one or two events before the tournament starts on June 11, chief organiser Danny Jordaan told a news conference.

"They are busy now with the outside of the stadium and a beautification programme around the perimeter," said Jordaan, chief executive officer of the South Africa 2010 Organising Committee.

However, the pitch at Nelspruit's new Mbombela Stadium is being lifted for a second time after being judged unsuitable by a FIFA inspection team last week.

"They have to change the sand and the pitch has been relaid for longer-term sustainability. We want to ensure all the pitches will deliver the quality of football expected from a World Cup," Jordaan said.

Officials said a new pitch would cost a further three million rand ($390,200), adding to budget overruns at the provincial venue.

Nelspruit is one of six new stadiums being built for the World Cup. Another four have been renovated.