FIFA legacy in tatters

Today’s Herald

On the day that the 2014 football world cup kicks off across the Atlantic in Brasil our local hacks have decided to publish a (in their opinion) damning report card on the “shambles” FIFA left behind right here in the Eastern Cape back in 2010

Well, it aint my opinion.

I love our new stadium.

I use the ‘new’ roads and those upgraded (widened and resurfaced) on a daily basis.

The upgrade to our little airport and it’s infrastructure was long overdue.

And as for the cost to the city? I couldn’t care less, those who think that the money spent on maintaining the stadium (R13.2  million) would have been spent on welfare , housing or other developments, think again. It just meant less Mercs and overseas junkets for the elected few.

In 6 months of Super Rugby over 300,000 people attended the stadium to support / watch our E.P. Kings, that R13.2m equates to less than R50 per supporter! Not to mention the huge support when the Boks and World 7’s play here.

Less money in the ratepayers pot to be stolen and squandered.

My mates and I still reckon that those 30 days in 2010 were perhaps one of the best months of our lives!

I’ve reprinted the article for those interested in what the damning report had to say …


THE grand legacy left behind in Nelson Mandela Bay after Fifa packed their bags at the end of the 2010 soccer World Cup, is in tatters. Today, four years after the South African showpiece, upgraded stadiums are still underused and a multimillion-rand hospital upgrade has done little to improve health services, a transport system is in ruins, and a police emergency call centre is unused and shrouded in controversy.

Most of these projects came with a bill of more than R1-billion, with thousands of people pinning their hopes on Fifa improving their lives.

Independent researcher on soccer development Dr Dale McKinley likened the World Cup to a drug.

“The build-up and the event itself gave everyone this massive high. Soccer is globally popular, and everyone got swept up in the hype and the national pride.

“Unfortunately, coming down from that high is never pleasant. When things returned to normal a few months after the tournament, only then did we realise the damage that was done.”

Even Errol Heynes, former executive director of the 2010 World Cup in Nelson Mandela Bay, admitted this week the endowment was not as great as they had hoped.

“Our stadium was completed first, and our part of the tournament was a huge success. But some of the legacy projects Fifa left behind were a major disappointment.”

The Herald’s in-depth review of the international sports giant’s legacy comes as the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil tonight.

Adding to the legacy ruin, hundreds of volunteers still feel used after working for a month during the tournament and not managing to secure permanent jobs afterwards.

The Nelson Mandela Stadium, a beacon of Fifa’s legacy in the Bay, has still not been able to show a profit.

Heynes said there had been concerns about the stadium’s financial sustainability right from the start, and plans that were put in place to provide additional income were never properly implemented.

“The stadium was meant to provide a portion of its own passive income, bringing in money without having to host huge events. Things like shops selling sports

goods in the stadium, that were planned from the beginning, could have contributed to this,” he said. According to Heynes, a 400-page report, about the successes and failures of the World Cup in the Bay, was compiled by his team, but it was never presented before the city council.

“The points raised in that report could have gone a long way in identifying flaws in planning, and ways to fix certain failures. Successful strategies were also noted, and could have been duplicated, as I firmly believe success breeds success.

“Unfortunately that report, for some reason, never saw the light of day.”

Heynes said the World Cup did not leave the city completely empty-handed.

Safety and security was one of the major positive points, as this department’s R130-million budget was put to good use, buying city-wide CCTV equipment, mobile operations centres and employing 20 permanent firemen.

And even though many facilities were not properly managed, the infrastructure was in place and could be a success if run properly.

SA Football Association (Safa) Nelson Mandela Bay regional president Monde Mhletywa said venues like the Gelvandale and Zwide stadiums would be ideal for housing soccer teams from various leagues once the sport really took off in the Bay.

Safa Eastern Cape chairman Mzimkhulu Fina said the 2010 tournament went a long way to eradicate negative perceptions of South Africa. “It changed the landscape of the country and destroyed the negative mentality among those foreigners who doubted our capability,” he said.

KwaNobuhle and Despatch Football Association president Andile Funani said they were led to believe that they, too, would benefit from legacy projects in the form of coaches along with equipment, which many were still waiting to receive.


7 thoughts on “FIFA legacy in tatters”

  1. It’s in vogue now to slam FIFA, mainly because of blatant corruption on Blatter’s longwatch. As Brazil is about to discover, hosting a World Cup doesn’t solve any existing problems anywhere and usually creates problems of its own.

  2. Soutie, have you driven past Polokwane Stadium or Nelspruit? Technicoloured elephants.

    And then you have Cape Town’s stadium. Put where it was, because FIFA wanted the view.The Western Cape government, which was ANC at the time, took precisely half an hour to agree to the demand to move it from Athlone, the site originally intended and closer to those who would have used it. Unless WP Rugby submits to the blackmail attempts to force it to leave Newlands, CT Stadium will almost certainly be pulled down.

    As for the much lauded the transport development in Gauteng.The Gautrain fares are way beyond the means of anybody other than professionals and Sandtonistas while the motorway e-Tolls are an excuse for highway robbery. Literally.

    As for reducing corruption, in South Africa, actually anywhere in Africa, that is impossible as long as the lunatics are in charge of the asylum. There is always somewhere for them to find the money to pay for their Mercs and Range Rovers.

  3. I just wish that Brazil will be such a screw up that it would finish the whole shebang for ever.
    Total pointless waste of money. Surely international tournaments could be played in existing club stadia?
    There is no need for one country to host the whole thing at the expense of their citizenry,
    Frankly very few in the world give a tuppenny damn about the whole thing.

  4. Nowhere has ever made anything of the aftermath of the Olympics and word cups etc. The world is littered with expensive white elephants rusting away.

  5. Glad to see the Brazilians are rioting, quite right too. Probably the only entertainment and satisfaction most of them will get.
    I’m quite sure most could not afford a ticket, I expect they would have preferred a square meal, a trip to the dentist/doctor or had a school for their children!
    They got a stadium instead, how very useful!

  6. Morning all.

    I agree.

    The money could always have been spent on upliftment, sanitation, electrification, schools, transport and the like. And sure there’s lots of white elephants dotted around South Africa. The cost of all these projects is a drop in the ocean compared to our national budget over the last 25 years and has there been large socio-economic improvement? No!

    My point is that our little town did rather well out of the 2010 world cup (most of the capital costs were covered by central government) and for that I’m rather happy.

    In fact I’m off to watch the Boks play Scotland on the 28 June, that would never have been possible without 2010.

  7. Soutie, I’m glad someone benefited. I darkly suspect you are amongst the pitifully few for the ‘blood and treasure’ expended!

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