The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa was designed, delivered and operated by AECOM for the FIFA World Cup 2010™. A multi-purpose venue with a focus on legacy, culture and location, it boasted a total capacity of 70,000 seats for the World Cup, scaled down to 56,000 seats post-2010.

A distinct 106-meter high central arch – inspired by the Y-shape of the South African flag and representing the unification of the nation through sport – supports the lightweight cable-stayed roof which covers 85% of the seats in the stadium. These seats are set in oval-shaped tiers, accessed on six levels with a surrounding podium.

At ground level, the main gateway to the stadium is identified by the two legs of the arch on the south side and connected to the city with a 1.5km long linear park. To the north a SkyCar takes visitors on a two-minute ride up the stadium arch to a viewing platform looking out across Durban; making the stadium part of the Durban skyline.

AECOM’s involvement in the project from the very beginning meant that we knew the project and city well and so, when Durban’s city authorities asked us to take on operator responsibility for the stadium until a long-term operator was found, we were able to move quickly.

It was incredibly important to us that the operational phase adopted the same high standards applied during design and construction. To do this we assembled a team of our project managers and engineers — experts in stadium construction — and partnered with a third-party event organiser for commercial management, working to tight timescales and regulatory framework.

Between practical completion and the kick-off for the opening World Cup match, we were managing and coordinating three different programmes; snagging, overlay installation for the tournament and the round the clock steady-state stadium operation. But with our breadth of experience and a balanced approach to delivery, we were able to hand over a fully operational and tested stadium to FIFA for the 2010 World Cup™, and there were no technical or operational issues during the tournament.

In 2013 we handed over the stadium again. This time, the handover was to the city of Durban, following three successful years of operation, and including a detailed operations manual and a fully-trained staff team who knew the facility inside out. A great result.