South Africa favourite to win bid for 2010 Football World Cup as architect flies out to advise on city stadiums.
A leading figure at architect HOK Sport is to visit Cape Town next week to advise on South Africa's bid for the 2010 football World Cup.

HOK Sport principal Barry Lowe, one of the key figures in the company's London office, will speak at a conference on stadium safety and security before meeting members of the bidding team to learn about their plans.

It is understood that most of the main venues will be those used for rugby matches, such as Ellis Park in Johannesburg, the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town and the ABSA stadium in Durban.

HOK Sport will advise on refurbishment of the stadiums so they have a range of amenities that can be used after the World Cup. It will also advise on how to make the venues comply with FIFA safety regulations.

Lowe said: "The main aim of the trip is simply to find out about the bid and what the South Africans' ambitions are. We will know much more when we get out there."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter decreed in 2000 that the 2010 World Cup ought to be in an African country. Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco are also in the running to host the event and a joint bid from Libya and Tunisia is expected.

The main aim of the trip is simply to find out about the bid

HOK Sport principal Barry Lowe

The bid by South Africa is the front runner because of its experience in running sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and the Cricket World Cup earlier this year.

Blatter has also indicated that he supports the bid by South Africa after it narrowly lost the bid for the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

Lowe added: "The South Africans had a very professional all-round team for 2006, and only just lost out on that particular bid. We will be looking to see what we can add."

If the bid is successful, it could open the door to more work in Africa for HOK Sport. The firm has also advised on masterplanning issues for the bid by Morocco.

HOK Sport has considerable experience in providing venues for big sporting events, such as the two Olympics, the World Cup and the World Athletics championships.