Decision on Confederations Cup venue set for January

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DURBAN, Nov 23 (Reuters) A decision on whether to keep Port Elizabeth as one of the venues for the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa will be taken in January, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said today.

Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela stadium is one of five designated for the eight-team competition but its construction has fallen behind schedule.

It is the only venue being built from scratch for the tournament, which will be used as a test event before South Africa hosts the 2010 World Cup finals.

''The thinking is we are still on track for the Confederations Cup but we will not take any decision until January,'' Valcke said after meeting of the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee board in Durban.

The other venues for the June 2009 event -- Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg -- are only undergoing renovation.

The 2010 World Cup will use a further five newly constructed stadiums and the sites in Durban and Cape Town have also been set back by recent industrial action.

''We are aware that the building of the stadiums in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is behind schedule and according to the latest reports we received, this situation has not changed, Valcke said.

''We are monitoring the situation,'' he added.

A two-week strike by workers at the Durban venue ended on Monday, preventing a potential embarrassment for the host country ahead of this weekend's World Cup preliminary draw.

REUTERS SSC KN2257

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