FIFA and World Cup organisers yesterday ruled out paying compensation for hundreds of fans who missed Spain’s semi-final victory over Germany due to congestion at Durban’s new airport.
Several flights carrying hundreds of fans were turned away from King Shaka airport with an increase in private jets blamed for all the landing slots being filled.
There are reports that some fans on board the flights had to be threatened with possible arrest when they reacted furiously to being told their flights were being diverted to Johannesburg.
At least one travel company is threatening legal action but FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said they were not responsible.
Valcke said: “It’s not our responsibility. Some FIFA executive committee members and partners also missed the match but it has nothing to do with FIFA. There will be no indemnification by FIFA.”
The attendance at the Moses Mabhida Stadium was 1,800 below capacity for the semi-final.
Irving Khosa, the chairman of the local organising committee, also denied responsibility.
He said: “There was a delay – when you transport heads of state [by air] a free zone is required for security and this has a knock-on effect.”
Jermaine Craig, spokesman for the organising committee, said the airport authorities had coped well throughout the tournament until Wednesday.
Craig said: “The problem was all roads and flights led to Durban (on Wednesday) and there was some bad weather and congestion with so many flights arriving.
“There have been 50,000 flights in South Africa since June 1 so until then things had gone extremely well.”
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