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South Africa: The Numbers Don’t Add Up

Posted by Admin on May 20th, 2010 and filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2010 FIFA World Cup
Image via Wikipedia

Editorial| 20 May 2010| Business Day (Johannesburg)|

Johannesburg — THAT Fifa has a lot to answer for is beyond debate. The way the organisation operates leaves much to be desired, wielding too much power without proportionate responsibility, able to avoid accountability by making up the rules, and tolerating far too many individuals in its ranks who repeatedly benefit at the expense of world football, not to mention World Cup host countries.

So Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk is justified in expressing unhappiness over the international football governing body’s handling of the preparations for World Cup 2010. It’s just a pity he chose to slam Fifa for the wrong reasons, and glossed over the more serious issues that really ought to be resolved before the circus moves to Brazil in 2014.

It is indeed regrettable that so few non-South African Africans have bought tickets to World Cup games. Just 11300 sold, and with a good number of the buyers presumably attending more than one game, the number of flesh- and-blood African visitors could end up even smaller than that. There will be more Italian fans in SA than Africans from the rest of the continent. So much for all the marketing babble about this being “Africa‘s World Cup”.

But the reasons suggested by Van Schalkwyk – the use of the internet to sell tickets, and excessive pricing – are less credible. And the use of the number of tickets allocated to African countries as a yardstick to measure success or failure is fallacious; who decided that 44 000 was a good number, given that this is the first time the competition has been hosted on the continent?

The fact is that Africa is a poor place, and travelling to a foreign country to attend the World Cup would be out of the question for the majority of people whatever the ticket price.

The Africans with the kind of disposable income required to come to SA are most likely to be expatriates earning euros, making it a long-haul flight for them too. Then there is SA’s thoroughly deserved reputation for anti- African xenophobia.

There’s no doubt the World Cup will be a huge success on the field. But get used to that slightly bitter aftertaste now.

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1 Response for “South Africa: The Numbers Don’t Add Up”

  1. Bob says:

    Could you be any more negative and pessimistic? Wake up and be a Proud South African

Comments are closed