Meeting today (24 November) in Durban under the chairmanship of FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou, the FIFA Organising Committee for the 2010 World Cup™ approved the match schedule for the final competition (cf. separate document), which will take place from 11 June to 11 July 2010.
In the same meeting, which was formally opened by FIFA President Joseph Blatter and constituted the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup's first on African soil, the prices and categories of the tickets for the final competition were also approved. There will be four categories in all, with category 4 tickets to be sold exclusively to South African residents. In a further innovation, a ticket fund will be set up with 120,000 complimentary category 4 tickets (cf. separate media release).
In line with an earlier decision by the FIFA Executive Committee, matches will kick at either 1.00, 4.00 or 8.00pm. In the group stages there will be three matches per day, with the exception of the opening day when two matches will be played and the days on which the final round of group matches are played when there will be four fixtures. All teams will have at least three rest days between their matches, except for one of the teams contesting the match for third place.
As previously decided, the newly built Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg will be the setting for the opening game and the final. Furthermore, each stadium will have at least one match with a top-seeded team and every team will play its group matches in three different venues.
Moreover, the organising committee formally approved the procedure for the preliminary draw for the six confederations, taking note at the same time that qualifiers are already underway in South America and Oceania and the first phase of qualifiers have already been completed in Asia and Africa. In the case of Africa, the preliminary competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will also serve to determine the teams that qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. A special arrangement will apply for the group that includes FIFA World Cup™ host country South Africa, whereby two parallel tables will be calculated, one containing 4 teams for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and another with 3 teams for World Cup qualification.
The preliminary draw at the International Conference Centre in Durban on Sunday, 25 November will be broadcast to 200 territories worldwide, 100 of which will show the event live. By the end of March 2007, a record number of 205 member associations had entered the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Subsequently, five associations withdrew (Bhutan, Central African Republic, Guam, Papua New Guinea and Sao Tomé and Principé), leaving a total of 200 associations that would set out on the road to South Africa.
Full coverage of all FIFA World Cup™ action is available on the official site www.FIFA.com. The preliminary competition will see a total of 861 qualifiers. 93 have already been contested, leaving another 768 to be played between now and November 2009 to determine the 31 finalists that will join hosts South Africa.
The organising committee also reviewed the issue of the qualifying match between New Zealand and Fiji, which was cancelled after the New Zealand authorities did not issue an entry visa to the Fiji goalkeeper. It was decided that the match would be rescheduled on neutral territory on a date that will be confirmed in due course.